Posts Tagged ‘Media Update’

Media Update 10/18/18

October 18, 2018


Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)
(I previously reviewed Candyman)

Last year, I reviewed Candyman, a horror movie about urban legends set in Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green public housing project. It was filmed on location and it explored the racial divide, class systems, and the truth behind urban legends. This movie attempted to introduce a more cohesive and personal plot into the franchise. The movie stars Kelly Rowan, a teacher of disadvantaged kids in New Orleans with a family with a dark and troubled past. She runs afoul of Candyman, again played by Tony Todd. Todd is so good in the role, with his dark and smooth voice being creepy and commanding physical presence. They bring back the awesome graffiti and production design from the original movie. I guess the only complaint I have is that they retconned the character of Candyman in this movie. However, it is a weak complaint as it creates a stronger story based on race and also makes him a more complex character instead of just a boogeyman. With the retcon, it felt like they expanded the lore of Candyman and made him more of a threat. Also, throughout the movie, we hear exposition and ominous dialogue from a local radio DJ narrating the days leading up to Mardi Gras. He is played by Russell Buchanan and they did a great job of making him into an actual character rather than just a plot device. I definitely recommend this one in addition to the first Candyman. (Oh! And trigger warning, there are a million bees in this movie.)


Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood (2003)
(I previously reviewed Leprechaun 3)

I have had this one in my back pocket for a while now and I honestly needed a bit of a break halfway through the month. I love the Leprechaun franchise and I am a big fan of Warwick Davis in general. In the first four Leprechaun movies, he terrorizes white people so they decided to make two movies where he visits ‘the hood’. This movie is his second visit and it is just good stupid fun. The victims are all pretty unlikable and the Leprechaun almost comes off as a hero in this one. Sadly, there are no stars in this one other than Warwick Davis (the last one had Ice-T and Coolio). Compared to movies like Candyman, it is a bit insulting to the black experience which is unfortunate. (Note: I am a white male so it might be extremely insulting or not insulting at all. I just saw it as a bit problematic). Still, there is some gory fun and some slapstick humor from Davis that felt true to the original. It is also really hard to dislike Warwick Davis as he is charming in every single role he has ever done. Also also, it has a really cool animated intro that should get more love. I recommend it for a good background or a stupid horror movie binge.


Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)
(I previously reviewed Phantasm V: Ravager)

Last year I became obsessed with catching the last entry in the series (since it was in some theaters) and it was appropriately trippy. I am a fan of the franchise but, like many long-running horror franchises, I just have not caught all of the entries. This movie is just as strange yet interesting as the rest of the franchise. The movies are very much written with the same feeling. They are part Evil Dead and part David Lynch which is a pretty unique combination. The characters deliver one-liners and combat supernatural creatures while trying to maintain their sanity. There is also a touch of comedy. The rest of the movie is strange and floaty and that is usually where they explore the lore through a lot of body horror and unsettling imagery. The body horror was the creepiest part of the movie to me (as long-time readers would guess). From the first time I was introduced to this franchise, I was grossed out by it but not in a way that turned me off. My favorite part of the movie is hands down Angus Scrimm, who plays the villain The Tall Man. He has such a sinister air and such a nice deep, rich voice. After that, I really love Reggie who is played by Reggie Bannister who is the action hero of the movie more or less. This movie also explores a bit more of the lore of the franchise while keeping things a little bit vague moving forward. I definitely recommend the franchise but do not start with this one.

Next Week’s Spooky Schedule:

October 22 – Hell Fest (2018)

October 24 – The Witch (2015)

October 25 – Media Update – Halloween Television

October 26 – Prom Night (1980)

October 27 – Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 4

 

Halloween Music of the Week:
Mushroomhead – Out of My Mind

Bianca – Kate Nyx – Sage & Silver Bullets

Witchtrap – Nightmares Of The Dead

Ghost – From The Pinnacle To The Pit

Benedictum-Beast In the Field

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Halloween Sequels 3”
– Fun fact: All of this edition’s movies earned a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
– I watched more Gotham Season 4
– I watched more The Good Place Season 2
– I finished watching Iron Fist Season 2
– I watched more Barry Kramer on YouTube
– As always, I watched more Critical Role

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Media Update 10/11/18

October 11, 2018


Killjoy 2 (2002) and Killjoy 3 (2010)

These movies were so short (an hour and 15 minutes) that I decided to watch both of them. Killjoy 2 was similar to the original in that it was a cast of black people being stalked by a vengeance demon in the form of a clown. This time, he is stalking a group of juvenile delinquents out in the middle of nowhere. Some of the deaths were really creative and Killjoy was once again charismatic. The movie was hastily made and it shows but it was charming in its own way. Killjoy 3, on the other hand, was completely different. The movie adds to the lore of Killjoy and ups the production values tenfold (which is not saying much). The movie recasts Killjoy and Trent Haaga does a really good job. He feels like he is one part Beetlejuice, one part Heath Ledger’s Joker, and one part Hannibal Lecter. He is joined this time by three henchdemons chief among them is Victoria De Mare playing Batty Boop who is basically Harley Quinn in demon form. This time around he is mostly hunting dumb white college kids. I guess this is a sign of letting the franchise stretch but it felt a little like Candyman: Into the Suburbs at first. Still, I am excited about the snappier scripts and better effects going forward. There is also a lot more gore as the often bloodless deaths of the first two movies are long forgotten. I definitely recommend the third movie as it is campy and fun and you can give two a pass for the most part.


Bedeviled

I was drawn to this movie because the image on Netflix looked so interesting. The plot here is that a bunch of college kids is haunted by a demonic phone application that uses their worst fears against them. While it sounds lame on paper, I appreciated that the attempts at making the lore sound interesting. I also really appreciated the production values. Like I said, the Netflix image of Mr. Bedevil is as interesting in the actual movie and pretty creepy. I also really liked the feeling of helplessness in the movie. The acting was pretty typical on the victim side, as they were all the usual archetypes in these films. Except that they were all pretty likable and I feel like that makes horror movies scarier. Jordan Essoe as Mr. Bedevil was the clear standout of the movie. His sadistic, sarcastic yet cheerful voice was the thread that strung the whole movie together. He was entertaining and frightening at the same time which is obviously a combination that I really love. Also, using the victims worst fears is a tried and true mechanic that is usually a hit. It allows the writer/director to add various threats so the victims are not stalked by the main villain over and over. The movie is mostly bloodless so if that is an issue for you, this might be the movie for you. I recommend this one as well.


The Funhouse

Right up front, I have to say that I picked this movie mostly because of its reputation but I picked it this week because the DVD cover has a clown on it. There are actually no clowns in the movie. However, I feel like it follows the spirit of the theme because it revolves around a carnival. The movie displays the dark side of the sleazier traveling carnivals which are full of workers who have never been vetted or background checked. The main plot involves a carnival freak chasing four teens through a dark ride. The movie was written and directed by Tobe Hooper who I have written about before. He is most famous for creating the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As I watched this, I feel like that movie was something he wanted to work at improving. The Funhouse is very similar but it feels like it does a better job at being scary and making me care about the victims. Hooper did this movie instead of working on ET and I think he made the right choice. I mean, he worked with Spielberg anyway on a much better film (Poltergeist). Hooper is very creative and even when he ‘fails’, he comes up with something worth watching. What I also found interesting is that there is a B story which feels like something rare in horror. That story follows a little kid who sneaks into the carnival and gets scared out of his mind and kind of has a different moral from the main story. I definitely recommend this one as well as it was different and atmospheric.

Next Week’s Spooky Schedule:
October 15 – Antibirth (2016)

October 17 – Train to Busan (2016)

October 18 – Media Update – Halloween Sequel Week 2018

October 19 – The Innocents (1961)

October 20 – Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 3

Weekly Halloween Music:

Dorothy – Raise Hell

The Jasons – Ki-Ki-Ki-Kill That Girl

Belzebubs – Blackened Call

Angra – Black Widow’s Web

Stitched Up Heart – Frankenstein

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Killer Clowns”
– I finished Blacklist Season 5
– I watched more Iron Fist Season 2
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I watched more of The Good Place Season 2
– I started Gotham Season 4

Media Update 10/4/18

October 4, 2018


Graveyard Shift (1990)

I remember reading this one when I was living in New Jersey, finding it on the shelf of used books the theater I worked at kept for sale or for people to read while they waited for the house to open. It was a dark tale (as you would expect) but it was interesting enough. I kind of forgot about it until I watched this adaptation. The movie expands on the short story a bit, adding in more story and background and kind of fleshing everything out. A lot of the movie felt like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds but with rats instead of birds. The tension of humans being around so many fearless rats (an animal that usually skitters away in fear) was unnerving. Later, it takes on a more Lovecraftian feel. It also features a lot of people working on older industrial equipment which looks incredibly dangerous. While it is a fairly simple movie, I feel like they made it more memorable than the original story. Part of that is the corrupt factory owner played by Stephen Macht who brought a kind of simmering insanity to the role. Also, my boy Brad Dourif plays an unnamed exterminator who has some great monologues delivered as only Dourif could manage. The effects were great and just cheesy enough for this grim little tale. I recommend it as I think it deserves a much higher score than it got on Rotten Tomatoes.


1922 (2017)

This was adapted from a novella that I did not read nor did I even know it existed. Frankly, there are so many Stephen King books, collections, and novellas that it is hard to keep track much less keep up. It is a shame that King already had a book named Misery because that was such a key theme in this movie. The idea is that one wrong act can curse your life and lead to so many other immoral decisions. Doing something unspeakable can cloud your mind and, for lack of a better term, darken your soul. Everything you do comes back to that one act and it follows you around until you die especially if you keep it secret. This was so excellently paced as it relied on psychology instead of outright scares. Once again rats were used but in a more subtle but also more supernatural way. Thomas Jane plays the lead and also the villain of the movie and he is so good at it. He became this dark character who has reasons and justifications for everything he does but irony keeps biting him. The supporting cast is so good as well. Dylan Schmid was spot on as Jane’s nervous son who begins to have doubts about what they did. The production team painted such an ugly but captivating world around the characters and it helped draw me into the story. This was foreboding and creepy but it was also a sad movie. I definitely recommend this one as well.


Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

This is the goofiest of the movies on this list but it was fun all the same. This is adapted from another short story from Night Shift (the same as Graveyard Shift). This one is about a teacher who experienced a traumatic event that led to the death of four people including his brother when he was little. The fun part of the movie for me is that it was easy to wonder if actual supernatural stuff was happening for a little bit because of the psychological trauma. The movie starred Tim Matheson as the likable but rattled teacher. He played the PTSD-like symptoms well and it played well with nobody believing him. The villains, played by Matt Nolan, Robert Rusler, and Bentley Mitchum are creepy but kind of funny in a campy sort of way. One of my favorite parts is how they interact with their old buddy played by William Sanderson and how it shows how people grow up. This movie felt like it was approaching the same kind of idea that 1922 did but in a less dramatic way. It felt like more of a popcorn horror movie or a television movie. Still, I would recommend it for the weird story alone and the sinking feeling I got while watching it.

Next Week’s Halloween Spooktacular Schedule:

October 8 – Terrifier (2017)

October 10 – Deadly Friend (1986)

October 11 – Media Update – More Killer Clowns
Bedeviled Killjoy 2 The Funhouse

October 12 – The Void (2016)

October 13 – Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 2

Halloween Music of the Week:
Ministry – Everyday Is Halloween

The Hellfreaks – Boogie Man

Black Moth – Blackbirds Fall

Teen Witch – Top That

Digital Daggers – The Devil Within

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Stephen King” or “Rats and the Undead”
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I finished Bojack Horseman Season 5
– I watched more Blacklist Season 5
– I watched more Iron First Season 2
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I watched more The Good Place Season 2

Media Update 9/27/18

September 27, 2018


Rampage

I hung out in quite a few arcades in my youth and, frankly, I would visit one if they still existed in Baltimore. One of the cabinets that first drew my attention was Rampage, a game where you play as giant monsters and you just wreck everything. When we got the game on NES, my brothers and I played it a lot more. It became one of those iconic games that were just fun to zone out and play. Only once did we “win” the game. When I heard that the Rock was making a live-action movie based on the game, I was surprisingly all in. The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson, makes everything better and there looked like there was a lot of big monster action. There was plenty of great fun as a giant gorilla, a giant crocodile, and a giant wolf literally rampaged across the USA. The Rock was great as usual and carried the movie on his back as usual. I especially really believed his relationship with George the gorilla. What I had not expected was that there would be other fun performances in the movie. Joe Manganiello has a small part but it is always good to see him. Jeffrey Dean Morgan played a charismatic yet complex character who always kept me guessing. Naomie Harris proved herself to be a good partner for The Rock, balancing out some of his sillier moments. On the other end of the spectrum, Malin Akerman was a delightfully over the top villain who stole every scene she was in. This movie was not anything to write home about but I had a lot of fun watching it and they left it open for a sequel that I would be open to. As of today, it is the highest reviewed video game movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes (at 51%). I definitely recommend it but sit back and watch the silliness.


The Dragon Prince

When I first saw the artwork for this series, I immediately liked what I saw but I was not sure if it was a video game or a show. Thankfully, it is a show. I immediately felt an Avatar: The Last Airbender feel to the show from the first few minutes. This makes sense as the head writer and director from that show, Aaron Ehasz, created this show. Like that show, drama and humor are carefully mixed together in a very natural but entertaining way. The world building really impressed me as the show went on and more details were revealed. It felt like a blend of a good video game and a good fantasy novel series. Each new detail was really cool to learn and figure out how it fits into the narrative. The art direction is really exciting and I was pretty inspired by a lot of the choices. The gist of the series is that it mostly involves a conflict between humans and elves. The humans have been confined to their part of the continent because they invented dark magic. I really liked the magic system they laid out and I am excited to see more of the system and its implications revealed. I also really liked the characters as none of them are perfect paragons and I am excited to see them attempt character arcs. I definitely recommend this one as well.


Tremors: Cold Day in Hell

I have been with the Tremors franchise since the beginning. The first movie was a fresh look at monster movies and kind of reinvented characterization usually used in that subgenre. This is now the sixth movie and I have certainly enjoyed the ride. Kevin Bacon dropped off after the first film but all of the movies have the fun Michael Gross as hunter/prepper Burt Gummer. The character has so much momentum six movies in. He feels like the Tremors franchise version of Fin Shepard in that he is a somewhat ordinary guy who is really good at killing the monster in the title. Last time he hunted graboids in Africa but this time he is summoned to the Canadian Arctic to deal with them. As with the previous movie, he brings along Jamie Kennedy as his sidekick/son. Normally, Jamie Kennedy is too annoying but he is alright in this. Jamie-Lee Money is introduced as the daughter of Kevin Bacon’s character from the first movie and she becomes part of the next generation of monster hunters. Tanya Van Graan plays a female scientist who starts out skeptical but quickly helps lead the crew in their adventure. The rest of the cast is filled with quirky character actors who have their charm. The action scenes live up to the craziness that the franchise has always held. I recommend it as it felt better than the last one.

Weekly Music:
The Stunners – We Got It

Judas Priest – No Surrender

The Breeders – Cannonball

Christine and the Queens – Girlfriend

Kumiho – Loverman

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Giant Monsters”
– I kept watching The Blacklist Season 5
– I kept watching Iron Fist Season 2
– I kept watching Bojack Horseman Season 5
– I kept watching Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I am caught up on Critical Role again

Media Update 9/20/18

September 20, 2018


Mayans MC

I really liked Sons of Anarchy and I realized when this show was about to premier that I had never watched the rest of it. The drama surrounding a club of bikers exposed me to kind of a new culture that I had never really been exposed to. When I lived in New Jersey, bikers from Orange County would drive through every so often and I have also encountered them on the way to West Virginia. However, I never really had much experience with actual bikers. Sons of Anarchy added a Shakespeare flavor to a show about gun-running bikers. So far, Mayans feels even better. The show is about a south California chapter of the Mayans, a biker gang mostly made up of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. The show has elements of Sons of Anarchy but it already has conflicts with the FBI, the Cartels, Mexican citizens, and other gangs. The Mexican cartels are the perfect villains as everybody knows how brutal they are in real life. JD Pardo is great as the star of the show, EZ Reyes, a man who is trying to get his life together by any means necessary. Edward James Olmos plays his father, a butcher, who he regularly goes to for advice. Daniel Pino plays the head of a Cartel and is an interesting twist on what you would expect from such a character. The rest of the cast is really great and I am waiting to see who is going to stand out and become more important. The show does not rely at all on the plot of Sons of Anarchy and it definitely stands on its own. I wholeheartedly recommend it.


Boondock Saints

I had heard a lot about this cult classic not long after it came out but I never got a chance to watch it. Back then I did watch the documentary about it called Overnight. That details how much of a jerk the director/writer of the movie is and how quickly a person can firebomb their own success. After watching the movie, that documentary is even more fascinating to me. I say that because it was a lot of fuss over a movie that is not very good. I suppose it is kind of like The Room but for action movies. Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery play brothers who are spurred to action by the story of Kitty Genovese and a bar fight with Russian mobsters. They decide to just murder as many gangsters and criminals as they can. They are quirky but mostly uninteresting as characters. They are joined by a bumbling friend David Rocco who is kind of like a character from a bad SNL skit. The highlight of the movie is Willem Dafoe who plays an FBI agent who is absolutely out of his mind. His performance is so nonsensical that it is hard to look away. Without him, the movie would have been bland dialogue (in delightful Irish accents) punctuated by gunfire. However, it felt like each of his scenes was written by a different person. It felt like the movie did not know whether it was serious or a parody and it kind of just happened. I do not recommend it but I am glad to get a cult classic under my belt.


American Vandal

Like most people, I witnessed the explosion of popularity of the podcast Serial and its fresh approach to detailing a criminal investigation and the facts of a case. The crux of that podcast was to present all of the facts and then ask questions. The podcast itself proved nothing definitively but it was eventually enough to gain Adnan a second trial. This mockumentary feels like a loving parody of that style. Much like Serial, this is the story of somebody who was accused of a heinous crime but there are questions about the guilt of the accused. Right off the bat, there are a lot of parallels between the two stories that made me smile. It is enough that I will say that listening to Serial enhances the viewing experience. Instead of a murder, Dylan is accused of spraypainting dicks on every single faculty car at his high school. As the show unfolds, more details are brought to light and each point of data is measured to see if it makes Dylan look innocent or guilty. In the story, the documentary is being made by two members of the AV club who begin to question the established story. The performances of everybody are so good. Everybody plays it with a straight face so the humor comes from situations and more realistic strangeness. More than the humor, I found myself wanting to watch the mystery get solved. I started to pick up clues before the characters saw them and so far it is very satisfying. I definitely recommend it.

 

Music of the Week:
Ariana Grande – God is a Woman

RISE OF THE NORTHSTAR – Here Comes The Boom

Fozzy – Burn Me Out

Twice – What is Love?

YG & Nipsey Hussle – FDT

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Not Quite Within the Law”
– I started watching The Blacklist Season 5
– I started watching Iron Fist Season 2
– I started watching Bojack Horseman Season 5
– I kept watching Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I kept watching The Good Place Season 2
– I started watching The Mae Young Classic 2

Media Update 9/13/18

September 13, 2018


Countdown

On a whim, I decided to watch this movie over Labor Day Weekend because it was the weekend of All-In and Dolph Ziggler is big on Raw again. For those who don’t know, “Dolph Ziggler” is the stage name of Nick Nemeth. He has been part of the World Wrestling Entertainment machine for at least a decade now. I knew that he had done some stand up comedy on the side so I wanted to see what his acting was like away from the ring. Turns out it is actually pretty good. The movie is about a rogue cop (Nemeth) who is about to be fired for being a loose cannon cop when he is drawn into an extortion plot involving a kid strapped with explosives. So this time it’s personal. Literally. He is in a race to find the boy and save him from the explosives all the while being opposed by his fellow cops and Russian criminals. Along the way, there is an action sequence and chase sequence in the backstage of a WWE show so we get great cameos from stars like The New Day, The Usos, Brock Lesnar, and Rusev. Also, the police captain is played by new Mayor of Knox County Glenn Jacobs (aka Kane) who is imposing but not the greatest actor. Oh well. Ziggler is joined by Katharine Isabelle, a tough internal affairs cop who is forced to tag along in order to save the kid. The movie is actually pretty tense and, although it is cheesy, it was a lot of fun to watch. Give it a shot and just relax and watch it.


Brick Mansions

I have previously expressed how much I like Luc Besson movies both as a writer and a director. Even his worst movies are more entertaining than most movies and he is really good at building strange and exciting worlds. This one is based on one of his earliest movies (which I have not seen) but it really captured my imagination. It has probably the most likely and believable future world that I have ever seen. The setting is called Brick Mansions, an area of Detroit that was built for newly rich citizens. However, a financial collapse happened and the area was abandoned and taken over by squatters and criminals. Eventually, Detroit just walled that neighborhood in and no longer provided it with law enforcement or emergency services. The movie is basically just a buddy cop film between Paul Walker and David Belle and an excuse to watch them engage in gunplay and parkour. In fact, David Belle’s parkour is both a plot point and a running joke. They are up against a gangster played by the RZA at his most charming. What I liked most is that everybody’s motivations in the movie make sense and they all make believable choices. It is a fun throwaway action film with a pleasant plot and I definitely recommend it.


Hitman

I never played any of the Hitman games so I am not really aware of how much plot they contain. In the movie, Timothy Oliphant plays a member of an elite group of assassins who are raised from childhood to be the best at combat. I have a few issues with the aesthetics of these “master assassins” who are all bald and have barcodes tattooed onto the back of their heads but I guess I need to take that up with the video game franchise. They did the best they could with this movie and it shows. I was prepared to just enjoy the action and hate everything else but I was wrong. One of the best decisions is how they modeled the movie on the style of Luc Besson. I definitely got some Leon vibes from the movie in the best ways. Also, casting Timothy Oliphant was a great choice as he has natural charisma that shows even when he is trying to be emotionless. Olga Kurylenko is a relative innocent whose lively demeanor draws more emotion out of Oliphant. Dougray Scott plays an Interpol agent who has been pursuing Oliphant for years and is a fun plot element. Robert Knepper plays a villainous agent who is also chasing Oliphant. It is a fun romp that is basically just an excuse for awesome gunfights and martial arts combat. I also recommend it.

Weekly Music:

Jay Rock – Win

Slipknot – Sulfur

Bebe Rexha – I’m A Mess

Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin – I Like It

Air – La Femme D’Argent

 

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Deadly Pairs”
– I started watching Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I kept watching The Good Place Season 2
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched more Disenchantment Season 1
– I went back and watched some Charmed episodes I had missed
– I watched more Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 1

Media Update 9/6/18

September 6, 2018


Marshall

Again, I kind of have a connection to Thurgood Marshall in that I have studied and I am working in the law and he was an attorney who got his start in Maryland. In fact, he sued The University of Maryland Law School for discriminating against him by not accepting him. He went on to be a tireless crusader for the NAACP and eventually became the first person of color to get on the United States Supreme Court. This movie takes a small slice of his life, defending a black man accused of raping a white woman, and uses it to show us who he was. In the movie, he is played by Chadwick Boseman and he is confident and fast-talking, usually bowling over whoever he is talking to with force of will and superior intelligence. Josh Gad plays a Jewish insurance defense attorney who is forced to act as Marshall’s mouthpiece in court when a racist judge forbids him from speaking. The movie is made by Boseman’s perfect delivery of a confident black man having to work around a system working against him. He is a never-say-die soldier and will not stop. The chemistry between Gad (in probably his best role) and Boseman is funny, sad, infuriating, and inspiring. The movie definitely paints Marshall as a man on a mission who not only fought the good fight but also inspired others to do their best. I definitely recommend it.


Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln has always been important in my family. My youngest brother was named in part after him because he was an important figure and also probably because he was a former lawyer. I also dressed up like him and delivered the Gettysburg Address in the third grade in one of my first memories of social anxiety. Because of my affinity for the man, I know a lot about the major moments of his life. However, I did not know a lot about the events surrounding the vote on the 13th amendment to the constitution. In fact, I thought it happened after his death instead of shortly before it. The movie stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and they probably could not have picked a better actor for it. He gives Lincoln an air of legend and mythology but also gives him humanity. Lincoln is a great man but he also enjoys telling vulgar jokes. He is a man who is willing to make brutal calls in order to change the course of history. Sally Field is excellent as Molly, his wife, and she helps bring out the vulnerability of Lincoln and also the less good parts of his story. David Straitharn and James Spader play William Seward and William Bilbo, and they are both delightfully mischievous. Tommy Lee Jones plays legendary abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens with a mix of gravity and straight-faced humor. It was a great story about a great moment in history. I definitely recommend this one.


Jackie

The story of Jackie Kennedy is a tragic one. Thrust into the spotlight (like most First Ladies) next to the United States’ closest equivalent to royalty, she forged her own path. Then she had her husband taken from her right before her eyes in bloody fashion. This movie is the story of what happened to her in the period after the assassination of John F. Kennedy up to her interview with Life Magazine. Part of the movie is an uncomfortable and scary look at a woman basically having a nervous breakdown. The other big part of the movie is watching scenes from a fictionalized version of the interview as a game of wits between her and an unnamed interviewer. It also briefly cuts to recreations of a real television special Mrs. Kennedy hosted giving a tour of the White House and providing some spooky foreshadowing moments. Natalie Portman plays a perfect Jackie Kennedy, at once powerful, graceful, and vulnerable. She understandably often plays opposite Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy who provides an emotional but stoic contrast to her character (understandably) barely keeping it together. As I said, the movie is very uncomfortable to watch in all of the best ways. Even though I had not been born at the time, all of the iconic images that showed up were burned into mind from being a student of history. I definitely recommend this one as well but prepare yourself.

Music of the Week:
R3HAB x THRDL!FE ft. Olivia Holt – Wrong Move

Childish Gambino – Summertime Magic

Black Label Society – Trampled Down Below

LANY – The Breakup

HELLYEAH – I Don’t Care Anymore

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Biopics: Legendary Americans”
– I watched more The Good Place Season 2
– I watched more Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 1
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched the All In pay per view
– I watched more Disenchantment Season 1

Media Update 8/30/18

August 30, 2018


Attack the Block

I had vaguely heard of this movie but I had not really heard much of what it was. When I found out that it was the first movie starring John Boyega, I was definitely intrigued. It is kind of sad that there was not much information because I had this movie pegged completely wrong. I thought it was a comedy/science-fiction movie but that was not what this one was. The best way to explain this movie is that the writer/director saw Signs and wondered what would happen if the same thing happened in South London. Joe Cornish was inspired by the low budget debuts of Spielberg and Cameron and wanted to create something equally raw. He succeeded. Basically, this is what would happen if alien monsters invaded the projects and ended up in a survival of the fittest conflict with a bunch of young street punks. John Boyega is so powerful in this movie that it is easy to see why everybody in Hollywood wants to cast him in things currently. At the same time he has the toughness of a criminal and the vulnerability of a teenager. He is joined by a cast of relative unknowns who are absolutely perfect for their roles. The only other person I recognized was Nick Frost who had a smaller, understated comic relief role that did not take away from the seriousness and the horror of the rest of the film. The design of the aliens was wonderfully simple and impactful and horrifying in a sort of Jaws kind of way. As the movie went on, I was absolutely terrified for the characters in the movie in all the best ways. When the credits started, I found myself letting out a breath I did not know I had been holding. I definitely recommend this one.


Oceans 8

When they announced Oceans 8 as a “female Oceans 11” I was skeptical. I was not sure why the movie had to be either a reboot or continuation of the previous franchise instead of just being a thing by itself. When I saw the first poster, I was intrigued by the cast. The movie stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, Danny’s sister. As usual, she is super charming and fun and she is probably at the top of her game in this movie. She is joined by a stellar cast who each add something interesting to the ensemble. We have Cate Blanchett who is a combination of regal and biker attitude which I really enjoyed. Rihanna plays a really sassy hacker who steals a lot of scenes. Mindy Kaling was not somebody I expected in a heist movie but she brings a good bit of comedy into her role. I was also surprised by the addition of Sarah Paulson who ended up carrying a lot of scenes as the kind of straight woman of the group. For once Helena Bonham Carter did not overact and that made her even more funny. Anne Hathaway killed it as a spoiled Hollywood actress and was actually probably the highlight of the movie. With this movie they seemed to make a continuation of the previous franchise while also doing their own thing. It did not rely on all of the tropes of the previous trilogy and almost none of that cast appeared. I was surprised at how good this was and I definitely recommend it.


Voltron: Legendary Defender

I watched quite a bit of the original Voltron cartoon series. It was during a time when television animation was cheaply done and was mainly done to sell toys. Like many cartoons of its time, it was formulaic and always delivered an ending where the good guys win. Flash forward a few decades when I hear that there is a new series and it is pretty good. Fast forward a little more to present day and a friend who I trust says the show is good and I figure it is time to check it out. I am glad I did. They basically took everything that was good from the show (robot lions becoming a big robot, action, color-coordination) and just added a whole lot more to like. The animation is, of course, a lot better with characters allowed to be more expressive. The action is way more exciting now that animation has improved and anime has been an inspiration for decades. Each of the five “paladins” have been given more character and they are each given different abilities to make them more interesting. On top of that, the alien characters are allowed to be more alien. Also, the princess is allowed to have a real personality instead of being “girl also there”. Also also, the robot lions are now given more personality of their own through their movement. There are also actual character arcs and plot arcs from episode to episode other than “we have to defeat the big bad”. It makes each episode more special and it feels less like treading water each episode. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Panic! At The Disco: High Hopes

Future – 31 DAYS

From Ashes To New – Broken

OneRepublic – Connection

Ariana Grande – God is a woman

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “All Together Now”
– I watched more Disenchantment Season 1
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched more Wynonna Earp Season 2
– I watched more Game Grumps and Barry Kramer on YouTube
– I have picked up Critical Role again

Media Update 8/23/18

August 23, 2018


Disenchantment

When I was in middle school, I got really into the Simpsons. I had watched the show for years but this is when I really got into it. Eventually, the show continued on but I stopped watching. During that time, Futurama debuted and I thought it was far better than The Simpsons. The characters had more heart and the show just seemed more clever somehow and the show felt like it had more charm. The characters also grew bit by bit. When I found out that Matt Groening and his crew were creating a fantasy show, I was excited. I am more of a fantasy fan than a sci-fi fan and I wanted to see what they could come up with. The show follows a tomboy princess, an outcast elf, and a demon and their adventures in a medieval kingdom. Princess Tiabeanie is a hard-drinking, fist fighting, gambling, princess who wants more out of life than the royal life. Elfo is a magical elf (Keebler style) who is tired of spending his whole life being jolly. The demon is the princess’ appointed personal demon who tries to get her to do the wrong thing but so far has only allowed her to make choices that make her happier. A lot of the voices are the usual suspects from Futurama and The Simpsons (minus the Simpsons main cast who would probably be too expensive now). The show felt like it had kind of a rocky start but by the end of the second episode, I felt like the show had found its footing. I had been ready to dismiss the show but by then I decided to check out a little more. I would recommend it.


The Worst Witch

On a whim, I decided to check this show out. Sometimes I just randomly pick something in my list on Netflix and roll with it. The show is apparently a British show based on a book series that started in the seventies. I had never heard of it but apparently, it was a thing.
Which is why a lot of people thought that Little Witch Academia was a ripoff of the book series and why I thought this show was a ripoff of Little Witch Academia. That is basically what this show kind of felt like. It felt like a live action version of Little Witch Academia. It is an all ages show about a young girl who stumbles into a school for witches and tries to bumble her way to better magic skills. It shares some beats with Little Witch Academia but I feel like the two went in different directions. They both share a similar message, though. The message that heart and enthusiasm can win the day. They also both have a message that the common folk can be just as successful as the privileged if they are given an equal chance. A few episodes in and The Worst Witch actually feels like Little Witch Academia mixed with Harry Potter. The acting is pretty good for what looks to be a fairly cheap kids show. The lead, Bella Ramsey, was apparently on Game of Thrones (though not a season I’ve watched) but she is a relative newcomer. She gets a lot of the right nuances of a young girl out of her element but just so happy to be there. I actually just talked myself into recommending this and watching more of it.


Ella Enchanted

I have not watched a lot of Anne Hathaway movies but I do know that I enjoy her acting from what I have seen. I had heard that this movie was an interesting take on the fantasy genre but I never got around to seeing it. I have seen many adaptations of Cinderella with Ever After as my favorite. This version was a surprise. The movie is a weird kind of update to the story. The movie felt like a mix between Shrek and Mel Brooks. However, the first part was a little difficult to get through as it felt more like the live-action Flintstones movie but that part thankfully passed and the movie settled into something a lot better. Part of that is the charm of Hathaway who plays a very genuine and beautiful character, inside and out. Hugh Dancy (Will Graham from Hannibal!) is really great as the prince and he has a kind of naive yet nuanced performance. Lucy Punch (aka Esme Squalor) plays the main villain and she is absolutely hatable. On top of that, there are great smaller roles played by Cary Elwes, Eric Idle, Vivica Fox, and Joanne Lumley. It is not a perfect movie but it definitely has heart. In addition, the movie is half-way a musical as Hathaway gets to sing and she is quite good at it. However, like many movie musicals at the time, the soundtrack is full of covers of modern songs. It is not my favorite adaptation of Cinderella but it definitely won me over by the end. I recommend it as a middle of the road movie.

Music of the Week:
Half•Alive – Still Feel

Neck Deep – Happy Judgement Day

Take That – Shine

Michael Franti & Spearhead – Say Hey I Love You

Kari Kimmel – It’s Not Just Make Believe

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Wizardry and Witchcraft”
– I finished the Following Season 3
– I finished Luke Cage Season 2
– I finished Supergirl Season 3
– I watched more Wynonna Earp Season 2
– I watched more Barry Kramer on YouTube

Media Update 8/16/18

August 16, 2018


Ingrid Goes West

I had been meaning to watch this movie for some time. I have been a huge Aubrey Plaza fan since first seeing her in Parks and Recreation. I became a bigger fan when I watched her various interviews on all three incarnations of Conan O’Brien’s talk show. She is so wonderfully awkward that I wanted to see her in everything I could. I am still working on that. This movie is listed as a “dark comedy” but I saw it more as a kind of new take on the horror/thriller genre. It was kind of a smart and softer take on those genres. I felt really tense and uncomfortable throughout the whole movie in a good way. The movie is primarily about social media and how people can take ownership of the people they are fans of. What made it so scary is that I have seen it in YouTube comments, on Reddit, and I have heard of scary incidents that streamers/YouTubers have had to endure. Plaza is great as usual as she revels in being weird and crazy but extremely personable. Elizabeth Olsen plays opposite her and does a great job at playing a more nuanced character that explores the manufactured reality that celebrities exude. We also get the second role of O’Shea Jackson who made his debut in Straight Outta Compton. The movie takes a lot of the biggest romantic comedy tropes and plays them straight and makes them super creepy and it makes me realize how many bad rom coms are basically stalker films. The movie is also shot very well and it looks very LA from top to bottom. I definitely recommend this movie.


Better Off Dead

This movie was very much hyped on the Harmontown Podcast while Curtis Armstrong was visiting during an episode (he’s a regular). The making of the movie sounded fascinating and the more I heard about it, the more I wanted to see it. Finally, I got a hold of this week. The movie is directed and written by “Savage” Steve Holland whose background is in animation. The movie is semi-autobiographical apparently as Holland created the movie from a couple of short films he made after his girlfriend dumped him when he was younger. He was in a very dark place but when he showed the films to his friends they found them to be funny. In the movie, John Cusack is dumped by his girlfriend and he goes to a very dark place but then he learns to be a better person. Oh and he also enters a ski competition and has to deal with high school. His character is not very likable when he first shows up but he grew on me. Curtis Armstrong plays one of his few friends and he is delightfully weird in probably my favorite role I have seen him in. Diane Franklin was such a delight in this and I fell in love with her character instantly (although her early scenes are pretty dark). The movie kind of felt like a parody of eighties romance adventure movies in the vein of Wet Hot American Summer. It was the same kind of parody as Airplane where there are plenty of over the top gags that play with the tropes of these movies but they still use most of those tropes. The movie is downright weird and I was constantly trying to figure out how to feel about it. In the end, I decided I loved it based on how it ended. I definitely recommend this one.


Fatal Attraction

I felt like this was the perfect movie to finish this week’s theme and I happened to have not seen this one yet. Everyone pretty much knows what this movie is about but I will drop a synopsis anyway. A married man (Michael Douglas) has an affair with a woman (Glenn Close) who becomes obsessed and then unhinged, making his life a living hell. In today’s climate, I could definitely write this movie and make Glenn Close the hero. Michael Douglas is great at shades of gray here but I definitely spent most of the movie hating him. They went to great lengths to depict him as a really good guy but the ease he has when cheating is troubling. Glenn Close is good most of the time but she gets a little over the top at certain moments. Anne Archer plays Douglas’ wife and she does a great job playing the truly injured party. The movie is obviously a classic for a reason but I think my expectations were too high. I did not really like the pacing as things were drawn out. This kind of lessened the tension of “thriller” aspects through most of it. It could have been helped by another pass in the editing bay to shorten it a little bit more to ratchet up the energy throughout. Still, it is a pretty good movie but you can skip it if you want.

Music of the Week:
E. G. Daily – One Way Love

Groove Armada – Inside My Mind

Blackbriar – Until Eternity

Walk The Moon – Shut Up and Dance

Post Malone – Psycho ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s themes are “Obsessive Behavior” and “Problematic Behavior”
– I watched more The Following Season 3
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki
– I watched more Barry Kramer on YouTube
– I watched more Luke Cage Season 2
– I watched more Wynonna Earp Season 2
– I watched more Supergirl Season 3
– I finished NCIS Season 15
– I want to see BlackkKlansman and Sorry For Bothering You so bad. Might do a double feature soon.


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