Posts Tagged ‘Media Update’

Media Update 12/7/17

December 7, 2017


Godless

The hard sell I saw for this new Netflix series was that an outlaw comes upon a town populated only with women. Female characters often seem to be sidelined in Westerns which hardly makes sense to me. If it is a biopic then the protagonists are probably going to be male and that makes an unfortunate amount of sense. However, when the story is fully fictional then why not rewrite history and put in some awesome prominent ladies in the wild west? The women in this show live in a town where most of the men died in a mining incident. The women are starting to learn what it is like to live in a society where men are not in control and some of them have started to develop a taste for it. In the middle of that, the male sheriff is working with an outlaw to figure out a web of mystery around local criminals. The main villain is a devil of a man. The show starts with a slow burn but bit by bit starts settling into a tense rhythm. The show is largely character driven and I am still enjoying each character as they are introduced. This show sets out to prove that women can be just as tough as men and I think it definitely succeeds. I definitely recommend it.


Hatfields & McCoys

When I was growing up, the Hatfields and the McCoys were often depicted as cartoonish characters. They showed up in Peabody’s Improbably History and other cartoons as people who just would never get along. Often, their feud was portrayed as ridiculous to the point that nobody could actually remember what had started it. This is the first bit of fiction that I have seen that attempts to portray the two families more or less as real people. The story begins with a difference of opinion springing from the American Civil War and it snowballs from there. The story takes place between West Virginia and Kentucky at a time when anything outside of a city was a largely lawless place. The two families are huge and a lot of local society can be easily divided up into either family. None of the slights by either family are cartoonish and in a world where the law is often taken into one’s own hands, the retribution is not that ridiculous. It only becomes horrifically ridiculous because the chain of violence does not stop. This miniseries gets a huge boost by casting Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy and Kevin Costner as “Devil” Anse Hatfield. Of course, their great acting is matched by pretty much everybody else they cast who brings it to their level as various family members. I have only watched the first of three parts but each part is movie length. I recommend it.


Longmire

I love a good procedural show with a good cast and a crime-of-the-week show format. I could list at leat a dozen procedural shows I have liked off the top of my head right now. I had heard some rumblings about this show and I have wanted to check it out for some time now. This is basically a police procedural that takes place in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming. This is a world that is largely alien to me. When I lived in a rural location I was at least still in Metropolitan New York City. Wyoming has almost nothing for miles around. The show follows aging sheriff Walt Longmire (based on a book series I never heard of) who watches over a surprisingly volatile area of Wyoming. What intrigued me most is that the show deals heavily with the Cheyenne and Lakota tribes situated on a nearby reservation. Longmire and his crew often have to navigate the complicated cultural and political landmines that sit between white culture and native culture. Longmire is largely sensitive to the native point of view even if he sometimes clashes with their police force. He is often joined by Katie Sackhoff as his female deputy who used to be a Philadelphia homicide detective. She is highly competent but also provides us with our fish out of water so Walt can explain things to us through her. The police are often supported by Lou Diamond Phillips as a local Cheyenne bar owner who is good friends with Walt. I would describe the show as a weird mix between Murder She Wrote and Walker Texas Ranger. At first, I did not really like it but I found myself drawn back to it. I definitely recommend it if you are looking for something pleasant to put on in the background.

 

Music of the Week:
Pale Waves – Television Romance

NateWantsToBattle (ft. Arin Hanson) – Infinite

The Green Lady Killers – My .45

A$AP Twelvyy – Strapped

YG & Nipsey Hussle – FDT

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Western Violence”
– I finished watching Punisher Season 1
– I watched more Fate/Apocrypha
– I watched more K
– I watched a lot of WWE Ride Along
– I watched the entirety of Beyond Stranger Things
– I want to see The Disaster Artist, Coco, and Bad Moms Christmas

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Media Update 11/30/17

November 30, 2017


Fate/Apocrypha

I am a huge history nerd, especially when it comes to myths and legends. I know a lot about the various heroes and heroines who have allegedly walked the Earth and left the world a better place. So when I started watching this new show, I was immediately jazzed. It is set in a world where magic and technology coexist. There is a magical, wish-granting MacGuffin which is basically the Holy Grail of legend. Whenever the grail is sighted, a special war breaks down called a Grail War. In that war, each side summons seven heroic souls from the past to fight the war as proxies. In this show, one side is comprised of Siegfried, Vlad Tepes III, Chiron, Astolfo, Frankenstein’s Monster, Solomon ibn Gabirol, and Jack the Ripper. The other side has Mordred, William Shakespeare, Spartacus, Semiramis, Achilles, Atalanta, and Karna. Joan of Arc acts as the arbiter of the contest. I am still freaking out over how good this show is and how they anime-fied all these great characters (including gender-bending several of the males). Gods, monsters, and heroes mingle and compete against each other and some of their stories are altered or ‘clarified’ so that they are in a more heroic light. I definitely recommend it if you are a fellow myth enthusiast or if you just like solid anime action with a bit of comedy thrown in.


Blue Exorcist

I have seen quite a few things where a character is the son (or daughter) of Satan before but this one really takes the cake. What happens when a demon is raised as a man and instilled with all the values of a good person. What happens when you are raised by your family’s enemies? What happens when you discover this in your teenage years? These are all questions posed by this show. The show, as the title suggests, is about John Constantine style exorcists who are just as likely to use magic weapons as they are to use magic spells (prayers). I really love the characters in this one as they really resonated and felt like people I know or might know in my life. There were slight twists to the story that I did not see coming and the whole show is grounded in a tough but real reality. Even the jerkier characters are people I would love to meet and talk to. I am just getting started on this show and I am intensely interested in where it goes next. I especially love that Sam Riegel voices a character on the show who I have seen in two episodes so far. I definitely recommend it.


K

Speaking of Sam Riegel, he is the star of this show and does such a good job of playing a slightly weird but mostly normal high school kid. The kid in question is caught up in a war between two rival gangs who both use magical powers to combat each other. The forces of the Red King and the Blue King freely fight on the streets and Shiro is clueless as to how he ended up in the middle of it. Throw a magical catgirl into the mix and this show is pretty crazy. So far I love the quirky sense of humor the show has and the devil-may-care attitude most of the characters have. I really have no idea where this one is heading and I am not a hundred percent sure what has actually happened so far. I just know that I have enjoyed the ride so far and I will eventually finish watching this series. The show is holding its cards close to its chest and has yet to really explain much which is both frustrating and enticing. I will be watching the rest of this with interest. I recommend this one as well.

Music of the Week:
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats – I’ll Cut You Down

Kim Tillman & Silent Films – Evelyn

Duran Duran – Come Undone

Ghost Mice – Critical Hit

Awkwafina – NYC Bitche$

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Anime Youths in Battle”
– I watched more Punisher Season 1
– I watched more Blindspot Season 1
– I rewatched Sing Street with my mom
– Thanksgiving weekend was not filled with watching

 

 

Media Update 11/23/17

November 23, 2017


The Punisher

This show has been getting some press lately but for a lot of negative reasons. We have reached a critical mass when it comes to spree and mass shootings in the United States. So, a show about an anti-hero who famously uses firearms really has no good release date. This iteration of the character was introduced in Season 2 of Daredevil. The character is way more nuanced and deep than my experience with the character in comic books. An ex-marine, he is not just a goon with a gun. He would probably be the first person to admit that he’s just not sane, though. During the first season, Frank Castle tries to uncover corruption in the military while avenging his slaughtered family. The character feels a lot more focused on this show. The show does a great job of bringing up how we deal with our veterans, which should be a non-partisan issue. Mental health, the difficulty of finding a vocation, and the soldier mentality are all addressed with a great deal of compassion. The show is dark but the good writing and great acting carry it through for me. I read a comment somewhere that the show does not really give a coherent thought on gun control. I agree but do you really want that answer to come from a television show? The show depicts several different facets of the issue and lets the viewer decide for themselves. I definitely recommend it but it might be a little too dark for some.


Batman and Harley Quinn

I was a huge fan of the old Bruce Timm Batman animated series that came out in the nineties. It was a very successful form of the character and the world because it was a great mix of the dark and the light. This movie is a step back into that world, a step away from the darker, grittier Batman seen in the live action DC movies and a few of the animated movies. In this, Batman is the ultimate funny straight man. He gets more laughs from a stoic expression or the squint of his eyes than any bit of dialogue. When he does let slip a joke, it is both surprising and funny. He is accompanied by Nightwing who is a little bit looser than his old mentor and more into cracking a joke. The two get Harley Quinn to act as their criminal informant and she is as zany and crazy as you would expect. I loved how self-aware she was. This is a Harley who has finally realized how bad Joker is for her and how important her friends (like Poison Ivy) are. She also loudly corrects anybody who can hear that she is not a psychopath but is instead a sociopath. Get it right. With so little, the cartoon showed that these characters are part of a bigger world with a history. I ended up smiling from ear to ear through most of it and it was good to take another spin around the block with some old, familiar friends in new situations. I wholeheartedly recommend this as DC Animated is killing it.


Justice League

Nobody is more surprised than I am that I went to the theaters and saw this movie. After skipping Batman v. Superman, I did not think I wanted to see Justice League either but my friends lured me in with promises of Joss Whedon. Wonder Woman was also a truly great movie. Well, the movie had a lot of problems but that is to be expected. The movie introduced Cyborg to the big screen and missed much of the point of him in previous iterations. He used to be a happy, friendly guy who covered up his sadness at becoming more machine than man by being the best person he could be. In this movie, he was a mostly quiet grump. The Flash was that annoying guy at a party who will not shut up and thinks his jokes are just hilarious. Apparently, The Flash is one of the most polarizing performances in the movie. Henry Cavill still does not feel like Superman and instead just comes off as awkward. The villain, Steppenwolf, was basically a video game character and his performance was forgotten by me every time he left the screen.

So was there anything good? Wonder Woman was great again, although they keep sabotaging her character. Batfleck is alright though he seems to mope and get his butt kicked a lot. Affleck’s sense of humor came out here and there and that was definitely welcome. Aquaman was fun, coming off as a loveable asshole. There were moments where the movie showed glimmers of hope that it might dig its way into the light. Overall, I feel like you can build the best house you know how but if the foundations are bad then you will still fail. Man of Steel and BvS are bad foundations. I could see where Joss made it better but Warner Brothers still has a long way to go and that starts by firing Zack Snyder and banning Frank Miller from the set. I definitely do not recommend this. There are tons of superhero movies out there actually worth your time and money.

Music of the Week:
Marmozets – Why Do You Hate Me?

Man With A Mission – Raise Your Flag

Ratatat – Loud Pipes

Wowaka – Rolling Girl

Set Your Goals – This Will Be The Death Of Us

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Comic Book Team-Ups”
– I finished Blacklist Season 4
– I watched more Blindspot Season 1
– I finished Santa Clarita Diet
– I watched more Sleep Hollow Season 2
– I watched more Van Helsing Season 1

– Happy Thanksgiving!

Media Update 11/16/17

November 16, 2017


The Big Sick

On any given day, Kumail Nanjiani ranks as either my favorite or second favorite stand-up comedian. He tells both relatable and fantastic stories and operates on a similar nerdy wavelength as I do. I regularly listened to his podcast that he co-hosted with his wife Emily Gordon so I knew how well they clicked and how smart and funny they both are. When I found out that they had made a movie together I really had to see it. When I found out that it would be directed by Michael Showalter (of Wet Hot American Summer fame) I was over the moon. The movie is a slightly fictionalized account of Emily and Kumail’s courtship which also covers the health scare that hit Emily and how that affected their relationship. The movie is dotted with scenes of Kumail working on routines that would later show up in his specials. The movie is mostly about how people deal with each other and what we are willing to go through for and with the people we love. It also features the culture clash between the family of a man born in Pakistan and the family of a woman born in the United States. It is very funny but I was also basically crying by the end of it but smiling through my tears. I recommend it as it is a very touching movie that never gets too sappy.


Do The Right Thing

This is one of those movies that I have been meaning to watch but I knew it would be a difficult, uncomfortable movie to get through. I was right and I was wrong. I knew some stuff from the movie, having a little of it spoiled but this was my first full viewing. Right away we are welcomed by the voice of Samuel L. Jackson who operates as the movie’s narrator. The movie takes place on one street in the famous Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City. It is the depths of summer and temperatures are skyrocketing in an area too poor for air conditioning. The heat is driving everybody into being especially on edge. Spike Lee is the writer, director and also plays the lead role of Mookie, a young pizza delivery boy known in the neighborhood. He works for the local Italian family headed by Danny Aiello and a hothead John Turturro. There are all sorts of characters including the local rabble-rousers, the elders, the old drunk, the grandmother, the Korean grocery, the police, and Mookie’s family. There is comedy, there is conflict, there is drama. Basically, the movie goes through a single day in the summer and shows the mounting tensions as they build towards a conclusion. It was a lot of fun to watch but then it did get uncomfortable in places but in the best ways. It shows the bad decisions we make based on our prejudices and the inborn prejudice of the system we live in. I recommend it as it is a very important movie.


42

I do not remember my first baseball game but I have seen photos of me in an Orioles hat when I was still an infant. I have a handful of friends/distant family members who are super into baseball to an impressive level. This movie was powerful because it depicted how people were caught between their love of the game and their prejudices. Jackie Robinson was the first black man to be hired onto the roster of a previously all-white major league team when he made it to the Brooklyn Dodgers. We look back at that moment with joy and pride but this movie does a good job of detailing how hard it was to get to that point and beyond it. Chadwick Boseman does a great job at playing a reserved and defiant Robinson who is achieving something from his wildest dreams. They put in a good deal of effort to show that he landed a spot on the Dodgers because of merit and not as a publicity stunt. Harrison Ford is incredibly charming as the wily and scrappy owner of the Dodgers who championed Robinson. Robinson’s supportive and highly intelligent wife is expertly performed by Nicole Beharie. John C. McGinley played legendary sports announcer Red Barber, a man who at first did not accept Robinson but later became a huge fan. Alan Tudyk was scarily good at playing racist Phillies manager Ben Chapman. There are plenty of other great actors who play Robinson’s teammates as they struggle to accept the hand they were given and try to figure out which side of history they want to be on. I definitely recommend this for people who are baseball fans and people who are not.

Music of the Week:

Estelle – American Boy

X Ambassadors – Renegades

DJ Khaled ft Drake – For Free

Allegaeon – A Path Disclosed

Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

 

Weekly Update:
– I watched more Blacklist Season 4
– I finished Glitter Force Season 2
– I finished Little Witch Academia Season 1
– I watched more Van Helsing
– I watched more Sleepy Hollow Season 2
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet

Media Update 11/9/17

November 9, 2017


Thor: Ragnarok

I never read too many Thor comics when I was growing up but I read enough to know his basic set up. I actually more fondly remember reading the shortlived Thunderstrike comics instead. I read so many Hulk comics (once Hulk was smart). I look forward to each and every Marvel movie because each has so much potential and they have such a good track record as a whole. When I found out that this one would be directed by Taika Waititi (from What We Do In the Shadows and Moana), I was even more excited. I liked the first Thor movie because it mixed a lot of the Shakespeare I grew up reading with the comedy I saw in Iron Man. The second movie was great because we saw Thor and Loki actually team up. The third movie is the best one yet as it gave everyone a lot more room to grow and expand their roles. Thor had an opportunity to be even funnier. Loki became a more rounded character. Both Hulk and Banner got opportunities to talk. We were introduced to Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and she was so cool and imposing. Cate Blanchett was deadly and formidable as Hela, the first female Marvel villain and one of the best villains so far. Idris Elba’s role was expanded as well and he was allowed to slip out of his armor. Apparently, a high percentage of the dialogue was allowed to be improvised which gave it a lighter feel. Add in some great cameos and excellent special effects and I cannot recommend this one enough.


The Dark Tower

I am a pretty big fan of Stephen King. He is a writer I looked up to as a kid and the worlds he created inspired me to create my own worlds. He also was one of the main writers who scared me as a kid. Most of the books I read as a kid were horror and fantasy books so when I found out that King had a fantasy series, I was onboard immediately. I really do need to read more of it but I loved the first four books of The Dark Tower series which is also connected to such varied books as Hearts in Atlantis, The Stand, It, and Eyes of the Dragon. When it comes down to it, most of his books are connected with each other. I went into this movie with low expectations based on its reputation and I actually thought it was pretty good. We only got a small percentage of the mountains of lore from the books but I think that worked in its favor. If they chose to proceed through more movies or the more likely television show, there is so much more source material to draw from. As usual, Idris Elba really sold this movie to me as I love Elba when he plays a cool customer who is full of simmering rage beneath the surface. Matthew McConaughey continues his McConaughsaince and basically plays a demon, clearly not the Devil but ranking in that region. I recommend the movie but I knew most of the easter eggs and references as they happened so I might be biased.


RockNRolla

I have seen most of Guy Ritchie’s movies at this point. I have made a point of going back and watching them movie by movie after watching his first Sherlock Holmes movie. Ritchie loves scrappy street criminals and each movie he makes is a love letter to those who love to bend and break the rules. The start of the movie moves at breakneck speed as we rapidly introduce the characters and set up the basic thrust of the movie. Like his earlier movie, Snatch, there is a large ensemble of solid, mostly British actors to introduce and mix up in a blender. The main heroes are played by Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, and Tom Hardy who have been a street gang for years. It really felt like they were best friends who have been through a lot together. They are opposed by Karel Roden, Tom Wilkinson, and Mark Strong who are such charming ‘villains’. Thrown into the mix is Thandie Newton who is a lot of fun in her subdued and playful performance. As usual, the movie has Ritchie’s breakneck editing style which he has mastered and few can do it without being completely annoying. While this was not a home run, it was a fun little movie and I was totally engaged by the end of it. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:
the GazettE – Ibitsu

Har Mar Superstar – Lady, You Shot Me

The Posies – Unlikely Places

Tyler, The Creator – Who Dat Boy

Dead Kennedys -Nazi Punks Fuck Off

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Idris Elba Week”
– I started Blacklist Season 4
– I finished Stranger Things Season 2
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I am really digging the new Dragons in Places DnD podcast
– I started listening to Harmontown again
– I started watching Sleepy Hollow Season 2

Media Update 11/2/17

November 2, 2017


Mindhunter

I have been fascinated with abnormal psychology and the way our minds work for a long time. As a kid, I bought a psychology textbook because I wanted to learn more and more. It was probably the nerdiest thing that I have ever done. Textbooks are really not meant to be read cover to cover but I did my best. This show brought me back to that. The characters of academia and the FBI struggle to find some way to catalog and explain the public emergence of serial killers in the seventies. People like Charles Manson and Sam Berkowitz left law enforcement staggered and startled because their motives were elusive. The foundation of the show is the partnership between two FBI agents (played by and ) as they interview these killers to see what makes them tick. It quickly becomes a team when a college professor (played by Anna Torv) lends her considerable expertise to the project. The project is also somewhat unofficially helped by ()’s character’s wonderfully sarcastic girlfriend (played by ) who is a psychology doctorate candidate. The really meaty scenes come when the agents interview the serial killers but as we go we learn more about how the whole team copes with the grueling work and how they deal with each other. I definitely recommend it.


IT (2017)

I distinctly remember renting the original 1990 It miniseries from Blockbuster and taking it home so my brother and I could watch it. I had read the book along with a lot of other Stephen King books even though the thing is almost thicker than a phonebook (ask your parents, kids). The original is not really scary. Some of the concepts are creepy but the execution is more unintentionally funny than scary. It still has a place in my heart. This version felt more faithful to the book. First, it is not a huge spoiler to say that the movie only covers the first half of the book. This is great because the original was four hours long and instead of doing that again, we are given just the first two hours. It allowed them time to focus on the first act of the story and really focus on quality. The cast of children is really amazing. All of them are on the ball and act like kids I grew up with but a special shout out to Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things and Sophia Lillis. Bill Skarsgård is amazing as Pennywise. He switches from creepily playful to deadly serious in a heartbeat. His eyes and body move in crazy directions. The makeup is so freaky looking and the special effects applied were pretty amazing. The movie follows a lot of the book but makes some changes which I think were mostly for the better. I definitely recommend this one.


The Belko Experiment

I had wanted to see this movie since I first saw a trailer for it and I finally got my chance. Based loosely on the legendary Milgram experiment, this movie is about a vicious human psychology experiment. How does a person’s morality fair when the stakes get higher and higher? When the law is not an issue, what duty do we owe our fellow humans? The trailer is above and it pretty much describes the premise. An office building full of workers are told that they must start killing each other or there will be consequences. The inevitable descent into madness is slow but that ends up being great. We know things will get bad. We know the destination, so the journey is the real story. There were a bunch of great character actors that I loved like Sean Gunn, John C. McGinley, Brent Sexton, James Earl, and Michael Rooker. There were also great main characters in John Gallagher Jr., Adria Arjona, Melonie Diaz and Tony Goldwyn. Really, everybody was really great. It really felt like offices I have been in but in a pressure cooker that explodes. It definitely owes a lot of its visuals and feel to movies like Battle Royale but it still felt like its own thing. I also recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Sinister Purpose

Big Data – The Business of Emotion

OMI – Cheerleader

The Sequence – Funky Sound

Rise Against – The Violence

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Psychological Killers”
– I am halfway through Stranger Things Season 2
– I kept watching Blacklist Season 3
– I kept watching Blindspot Season 1
– I kept watching Little Witch Academia Season 1
– Halloween is well and truly over… for now

Media Update 10/26/17

October 26, 2017


XX

When I was looking for horror anthology movies, I wanted to watch something more recent and then this movie drifted into my radar. It is a horror anthology movie specifically made to only have female writers and directors hired because women do not get work in Hollywood. Only the first story in the movie is written by a man and only because it is adapted from a short story. The entire movie is full of four horror stories told from a female perspective. The protagonist in each story is a woman and we see the story from their point of view. This was fantastic. There was so much variety that there was something for everybody to like. The first story, which put a knot in my stomach that took a long time to loosen, was psychological horror. The second story was a dark comedy. The third was a straight up monster story. The final story went a little back to psychological horror. The only director I had ever heard of was St. Vincent but I am looking forward to work from all four of them now. The animation during the interstitial scenes was fascinating and creepy and was a great palate cleanser while keeping the right tone going. I definitely recommend it.


Tales from the Hood

I used to watch Tales from the Crypt when I was younger in the same way that I watched Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episodes. I was not of the appropriate age to read the old Tales from the Crypt comic books or any of the other horror comics that helped make Entertaining Comics big in the industry. However, I always saw the appeal. This movie is modeled after all of the old Tales from the Crypt stuff which was revived for the TV show. All of the stories are told from the black perspective and most of the stories are set in the city (the titular hood). The first story makes clear that from the start that those who disregard human life by killing black people will be punished. However, many of the stories also point out that those who stand by and do nothing will also be punished. Both racists and bullies will be punished as well. There are four stories and all of them are great in their own way, each making a point along the central theme. The wraparound story really drives home the theme of punishment for the guilty, whoever they are. I definitely have to shout out David Allen Grier in a distinctly non-comic villainous role. I also want to give a shout out to Clarence Williams III for being great as the eccentric mortician who tells each story. I definitely recommend this one too.


The Monster Club

For the final movie this week, I wanted something older so that I could sample anthology movies from three different decades and three different perspectives. This movie had jumped out at me early as a good contender. It is definitely a tribute to old Hammer horror movies as it happily cast horror greats John Carradine and Vincent Price in the wraparound scenes in the titular Monster Club. The movie is based on the works of British horror author R. Chetwynd-Hayes who I had never heard of before. The three stories are easy-going, middle of the road horror stories that are very charming but definitely still creepy. Price’s character explains how the different monsters all relate to each other and two out of three stories are about hybrid monsters. The scenes between Price and Carradine and the second story are charmingly funny. In between the Price/Carradine scenes and the three short stories, there are bands playing awesome music. While this was not a home run, the movie was definitely enjoyable. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Jex Thoth – Nothing Left to Die

The Deadly Grind – The Rage Within

KISS – Creatures of the Night

HUNTRESS – Spell Eater

Gravediggaz – From the Darkside

Weekly Update:
– I watched more Blindspot Season 1
– I watched more Blacklist Season 3
– I started House of Cards Season 3
– I watched more Van Helsing Season 1
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 1
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 1
– I watched more Little Witch Academia Season 1
– I watched Patton Oswalt: Annihilation
– Halloween Day is Coming! Only five movie reviews left!

Media Update 10/19/17

October 19, 2017


Cult of Chucky

When I watched the Curse of Chucky last year, I was wary of what I heard was a reboot. I loved the weird five-movie franchise starring Brad Dourif as a foul-mouthed killer doll. I was unsure if lightning would strike twice if they tried again. Thankfully, the movie was a soft reboot and the best of both worlds. By rebooting the tone instead of the lore, they breathed new life into the franchise. To me, the Child’s Play and Chucky movies were never really scary. They were more silly than scary. By making Curse into a thriller, they somehow made it scary. Cult continues in that vein with a more psychological approach which is fitting since the movie takes place in a mental hospital. This movie continues not long after where Curse left off. It follows Nica but the movie also seeks to reintroduce the lore and plotlines from the original Child’s Play movies. Best of all, Brad Dourif is both funny and scary as Chucky. I was legitimately scared for the characters on screen for the first time since maybe the second Child’s Play movie. This movie also sets up for yet another sequel which would be the eight in the series. Thanks to the soft reboot the series does not feel tired or overplayed in the least. I definitely recommend this one.


Beyond the Gates

I never played VCR board games as a kid. As a teen, I played DVD versions of Trivial Pursuit but I never encountered the horror VCR board games until I found them uploaded onto the Internet. They are cheesy and rely a lot on drawing the victims in and jump scaring them. This movie is a loving tribute to those board games but more so to the VCR portion of them. The movie is definitely very modern but it also has a lot of Eighties throwback elements. This matches the movie of two brothers revisiting their childhood in the Eighties. The movie does not have much gore but it has a very gloomy and eerie mood. It was the kind of feel that tightens my gut, like waiting in line for a haunted house. Some of the actors have been in horror movies but nobody was famous but everybody did a great job. The character of Evelyn was the best, the woman in the VCR, guiding us through the story. It is not in itself terrifying but it also confronts more realistic fears beyond the supernatural threats that are relevant to my life right now and more terrifying than any ghost or demon. I wholeheartedly recommend it as it harkens back to the 1980s and 90’s pretty well.


13 Demons

Let me get one thing out of the way right away: I am not prejudiced against people who drink and smoke weed. I am kind of prejudiced against people who only smoke and drink and seem to do nothing else. The protagonists of this movie are three guys who are hard-drinking, wake and bakers who seem to do nothing but play video games. I guess that’s at least one of the reasons that the acting is so sleepy and slow for most of the movie. These guys find a predictably ancient and cursed board game and things go wrong. However, the movie is not really clear on what’s going wrong because when you have characters who always act weird when they ‘start acting weird’ it’s hard to tell for a while. About halfway through, the movie starts to pick up in the style of a psychological horror movie. Parts of the movie reminded me of playing games like Eldritch Horror with my friends. We sit around a table and move our pieces, roll dice, and read a lot of lore from little cards. These are not the gamers that I ever hung out with but the gaming experience is similar. Of course, the horror aspects are the part that is drastically different. As the movie picks up, it does get a lot creepier and more fun to follow. Still, there was not much meat to the movie. I would not recommend this movie as there are so many better horror movies in this vein.

Music of the Week:
As Blood Runs Black – My Fears Have Become Phobias

NEVERMORE – Born

Hardwell, Austin Mahone – Creatures Of The Night

Queens of the Stone Age – The Evil Has Landed

Primus – The Devil Went Down to Georgia

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Deadly Playthings”
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet
– I watched more Blindspot Season 1
– I watched more Little Witch Academia
– I continue to watch Critical Role everyday

Media Update 10/12/17

October 12, 2017


What We Do In the Shadows

I had heard over and over how this was a movie worth seeing. Mockumentaries have a rich and varied history in the world of comedy but I had never seen one mixed with the horror/Halloween genre. This is a mockumentary about a group of vampires who share an apartment in New Zealand. In most supernatural stories, the main characters are the only ones in the world dealing with vampires or werewolves or whatever. In more modern tellings, like urban fantasy or young adult literature, there are supernatural creatures everywhere. This is the reality that I like to visit because you get to explore all sorts of personality types reacting to the supernatural. In this, you get vampires based on Interview with a Vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (both Oldman and Lugosi), Nosferatu and The Lost Boys. They are part of a larger community of vampires, witches, zombies, and werewolves. There is a lot of really fun comedy based on the movies and books that I have seen. The script was written by Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi but that script was never seen by the rest of the cast. Instead, they were given loose directions and they improved the heck out of pretty much every scene. Much of the comedy comes from the fact that the vampires are pretty lame and also they have not adjusted well to the modern world. What I did not expect was that the special effects would be so good. My mind was actually blown by some of the neat camera tricks they were able to pull. I definitely recommend it.

 


Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

A classic horror movie set up is that a bunch of dumb college kids travel out into the wilderness. Along the way, they piss off some psycho hillbillies and those hillbillies pick off the kids one by one. That seems a little one-sided against the hillbillies. What is their story? That is the question posed in this very meta horror/comedy movie. In this, two innocent hillbilly guys get mistaken for psycho killers in a real comedy of errors with each mishap leading to a worse situation. Obviously, the makers of this film have seen a lot of horror movies and they knew just how to pick them apart in a loving way. Movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn, Mother’s Day and others are all parodied or paid homage to. The movie kind of made me think of Cabin in the Woods with its loving parody of a horror subgenre while still being creepy and suspenseful. There are so many well-done beats taken from good and bad horror movies that made the movie really fun to watch even if it was not actually very scary. A really bright spot for me was that one of the stars of the movie is the legendary Alan Tudyk who plays an excellent intelligent hillbilly opposite a big dumb hillbilly played by Tyler Labine. The two play like Abbott and Costello and really help make the movie. However, the college kids are also spot on what they needed to be and the writing is very clever. I definitely recommend it.

 


Grabbers

On my journey through the world of Horror, I keep trying to visit other countries to see what they have to offer. Earlier this week, I visited France. I have also visited Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Japan, China, and many others. However, I have yet to watch an Irish horror film and I found a recent one. This one is a science-fiction horror movie which is hit and miss for me. This movie involves a shapeless horror falling to Earth near an island just off the coast of Ireland. The tiny community must deal with these creatures who only want to consume and humans are definitely on the memo. It is up to two Garda officers to solve the case and protect the community before the creatures can spread to the rest of the planet. Along the way, the movie confronts and plays with a lot of Irish stereotypes and employs a lot of great Irish humor. It utilizes the wet weather seen a lot in that part of the world but also shows some of the beauty of the Emerald Isle. Some of the movie plays like something out of HP Lovecraft or other stories about a horror coming to a quiet, simple village. However, it is a modern story but some out-of-the-way places are less modern than others. The movie ends up being a lot of fun even if it is a pretty simple and straightforward movie. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
The Cult – Lil’ Devil

Sir Sly – You Haunt Me

Sunmi – Full Moon

The Pretty Things – Welcome To The Monster Club

Queens of the Stone Age – The Evil Has Landed

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Horror Comedies”
– I finished Gotham Season 3
– I finished The Good Place Season 1
– I finished House of Cards Season 2
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 1
– I watched more Little Witch Academia Season 1
– I finished Rick and Morty Season 3
– I did not get any Mulan sauce. They ran out.

Media Update 10/5/17

October 5, 2017


Ghoulies II

I just had to give the sequel a shot after I kind of liked the original film. Ghoulies had the bad luck of coming out around the same time as Gremlins which ended up overshadowing it (and other similar films). It and this sequel were also attacked during the satanic panic of the 1980s. Critics thought that both films glorified summoning demons. Once again, these religious nuts did not watch the movies they were trying to attack. There is definitely demons that get summoned in both films, they got that part right. However, in neither film does anybody have a good time or benefit for long by summoning demons.

Anyway, I thought that this sequel was much better than the original. This movie actually benefited from Gremlins because it injected more of the fun I like into the proceedings. The original was kind of somber and creepy. This one was way more fun but also still creepy. There is no way you have such good puppets as the Ghoulies and they do not end up being creepy. The puppets are slimy and their movements are so realistic and the subtle voice acting really sells it. The original was set in a drafty old manor. The sequel is set in a traveling carnival so there is a lot more eye candy and more interesting characters to grab onto. The sequel also has actual protagonists instead of focusing on the villain of the movie so there is an actual conflict between good and evil. The kills were also way more inventive but just as creepy and unsettling as the first film. I felt my skin crawling a lot when the ghoulies were on screen and especially when they were on the attack. I definitely recommend this to fans of old-school campy horror films.


Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence

This has been an interesting series and I am kind of sad to reach the end of it. The series started with Bruce Campbell and that was what drew me to it in the first place. For a B horror movie series, the movies are surprisingly socially conscious. A framed cop is arrested and sent to prison where he is killed by the criminals he helped catch. He comes back as a revenant, pulling himself back to life to avenge the injustice against him. Since that story was resolved in the second movie, the third movie has him returning to face public injustice towards a police officer instead. It is up to Robert Davi to solve the real crime to try and stop the Maniac Cop from killing more people. The chinful Robert Z’Dar once again plays Officer Cordell who is the titular Maniac Cop.

Once again it is directed by William Lustig who seems to be a good friend of Sam Raimi. Their styles are definitely similar as the dialogue and the action hit a similar groove to the Evil Dead series. There is not as much comedy but there are plenty of interesting special effects. Z’Dar’s Maniac Cop is just so fun to watch and his unstoppable nature seems even stronger than Jason or Michael. It is a shame that Lustig has disavowed this film and did not want to continue the series. They had to bring in another director to finish it and edit in a lot of outtakes from the previous film. I still recommend the movie as Z’Dar and Davi and the rest of the cast (including Jackie Earle Haley!) really save the movie.


Bride of Re-Animator

After watching Re-Animator for the first time last year, I was absolutely disgusted but excited to watch the sequel. Based on an HP Lovecraft series, the Re-Animator movies are pretty crazy. I have not seen a lot of movies quite like it. Herbert West is one of the most interesting characters I have seen in a horror film. His deadpan delivery is at times frightening and other times it is funny instead. He is also so morally ambiguous. Like Victor Frankenstein, he pursues forbidden knowledge through distilling magical science goo that brings the dead back to life (hence the title). Everything is his fault but he never intends any harm which leaves him in a frustrating gray area. In this sequel, Herbert and his buddy Jake return from serving in the Peruvian civil war. They resume West’s experiments with the undead but they have a lot of unresolved issues from the first movie. This was released in 1990 but it definitely feels like an eighties horror film. Once again, the body horror is off the charts and makes my skin crawl. I feel like this movie definitely inspired the writers and effects team for Ash vs. The Evil Dead. I definitely recommend it but watch the original first for the full effect.

Music of the Week:
W.A.S.P. – Scream Until You Like It

Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman

The Nearly Deads – My Evil Ways

The Steeldrivers – “Ghosts Of Mississippi”

Ghost – Cirice

Weekly Update:
– This Week’s theme is “Sequels of Halloween Stuff I Reviewed Previously II”
– I watched more The Good Place Season 1
– I watched more Gotham Season 3
– I watched more House of Cards Season 2
– I finished Bojack Horseman Season 4
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 1
– I watched more Little Witch Academia Season 1


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