Posts Tagged ‘Media Update’

Media Update 12/6/18

December 6, 2018


The Rookie

I have been a big fan of Nathan Fillion since I first saw him in Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I then came late to Firefly and finally fell in love with that too. Castle was absolutely great as well. However, when I saw the ads for The Rookie I was not sure about a more serious role for him. However, it is not exactly that. The Rookie casts Fillion as a man who enters the police academy during a midlife crisis and he takes to it. The show follows him in his rookie year as a police officer and it is pretty good. The show is actually about three rookies and their respective training officers. Like Castle, the show leans on comedy but has plenty of drama. They get into some serious situations but also approach the lighter side of policing, mostly through segments on public relations. Each episode, the three trainees learn new lessons about how to be a better officer and a better person. As with most shows about the police, it is an idealized version of the police with relations between the public and the police force being relatively stable and almost no racism. The cast has a great mix of people who approach policing from different perspectives and it is an interesting cross-section of what a police force should be. I recommend this show.


The Good Doctor

This was something I recently sat down and watched with my mother as we relaxed after filing a complaint. It was not a show I would have chosen to watch as I had previously dismissed it as a pale imitation of House. However, that was doing it a bit of an injustice. The show stars Freddie Highmore as an autistic kid who proves himself to be a skilled surgeon and is hired by a hospital. Highmore plays it well, giving the character a lot of heart while also having him not understand a lot of human interactions. He is mentored by Richard Schiff who is a great, accomplished actor. He is backed up by an ensemble cast of interesting actors who play doctors and nurses. The show is paced pretty well and it has more heart and thought in it than I thought it would have. What helps is Schiff’s awesome performance and how people react and act around Highmore’s autistic doctor. Everything is handled with care and it provides a lot of interesting character moments. I may start watching this at some point. I recommend it.


The Resident

This show was kind of confusing but granted I jumped in at a later point in the show and would probably need to go back and watch in order to figure out what is going on. The hands down best part of the show is Malcolm-Jamal Warner who plays a sage and calm surgeon. He mentors a rising star surgeon who is over from Africa to learn how to be a better surgeon and she is played by Shaunette Wilson. However, the actual focus of the show is Matt Czuchry who plays a doctor in his residency whose father owns the hospital he is working for. His colleague (actually a nurse but overqualified) and girlfriend is played by Emily VanCamp. There is a slew of other characters all involved in a lot of melodramatic, soap opera dangerous shenanigans. The show was a bit much for me but the acting was at least interesting and there was a boatload of charisma in it. I may check this out later but it is going way down my list. I cannot recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Gateway Drugs – Night Swimming

Tell Me a Story – Mischief Brew

Ariana Grande – thank u, next

Kayo Genesis – Rich Lives Matter

Baskervillain – It’s A Love

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “The <Blank>”
– I watched more She-Ra and the Princess of Power Season 1
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I watched more Chilling Tales of Sabrina Season 1
– I watched more Hilda Season 1
– I finished MST3K Season 12

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Media Update 11/29/18

November 29, 2018


Hurricane Heist

When my friends and I saw this trailer in theaters, a lot of them expressed their disgust but I noted at the time that it was made by some of the people who made the Fast and the Furious and the XXX franchises. The main one is Rob Cohen who directed XXX, The Fast and the Furious, and Dragonheart. So, if anything, I knew I was going to get some fun stunts and some interesting characters. I was not disappointed. The movie is about a group of criminals who use a hurricane as cover to attempt to rob a United States Treasury installation tasked with shredding old money to take it out of circulation. The heroes are an ATF agent, a meteorologist, and an ex-military mechanic. The bulk of the movie takes place in Alabama during a Category 5 hurricane (although it is kind of insinuated that it may be a Category 6). None of the actors were known to me (although the ATF agent was on Lost which I did not watch much of). That was kind of refreshing as I got to watch some new faces go about crafting a familiar story in unique circumstances. There is very little actual storm science actually used in the movie but what is there is interesting. I was also interested that they decided to put a much-needed climate change message about storms worsening as time goes on. It is a movie that very much does not get in its own way and it never felt like it dragged. The character development was interesting (and sometimes heartwarming) and the action was a lot of fun. I definitely recommend this one.


The Spy Who Dumped Me

I have loved Mila Kunis since That Seventies Show but I have enjoyed her more and more as her career has proceeded. I am a huge fan of her in movies like Bad Moms, Black Swan, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She has great comic timing and she has off the charts charisma. Also, Kate McKinnon was the best part of the Ghostbusters remake a while ago. Justin Theroux plays the titular spy and he is sufficiently rugged. There is also the wonderful Gillian Anderson as well.  The movie follows the ex of an international spy who is forced to carry out spy missions along with her crazy best friend. The bulk of the movie rests on the dialogue between Kunis and McKinnon. The dialogue felt a lot like a Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino movie. The characters get caught up in trivialities even in the middle of danger. This movie is very much in the style of fish out of water comedies where the people tasked with something, are way over their heads. I had a lot of fun watching this movie, it was not laugh-out-loud funny to me but it was delightful. The movie was directed and written by Susanna Fogel, a relative newcomer, and I look forward to seeing more from her. I definitely recommend this one too.


Game Night

This was not a movie that I picked but it was upsold before Thanksgiving dinner and so the majority chose it for a movie night. I am familiar with Jason Bateman through Arrested Development but not much else. He is just as good in this as he is in Arrested Development, basically playing the same character. Rachel McAdams is the other lead and she is even funnier than Bateman. Jesse Plemons plays a comic relief cop who belongs in a horror movie. Billy Magnussen plays an absolute idiot, paired with a very witty Sharon Horgan (who I would love to see in a better movie). Kyle Chandler is great at playing the cool but scummy older brother. The movie is basically a combination of The Man Who Knew Too Little and The Game. Like those movies, the twists were expected and it was fun looking for any evidence of what was real and what was fake. It has some clever twists and a lot of movie references but the comedy was kind of hit or miss. Overall, I liked it but it had so much potential if it had been just a little bit smarter. I would recommend it as a dumb movie to watch with friends.

Music of the Week:

Caballero & JeanJass – Dégueulasse

The Vitriots – I Don’t Wanna Watch The News

The Dig – Nothing in This Town

Rifflord – The Other Side

Baco Exu do Blues – Flamingos

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Zany Intrigue”
– I finished Designated Survivor Season 1
– I finished The Haunting of Hill House Season 1
– I watched more Hilda Season 1
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I started watching MST3K Season 12
– I watched more She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 1
– I watched more Fate/Apocrypha Season 2

Media Update 11/22/18

November 22, 2018


She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

I remember watching a lot of He-Man back in the day, but I look back at it now and it was not very good. The original She-Ra was much the same, dirt cheap animation with bare-bones stories designed to sell toys. A lot of eighties cartoons were like that. We did not know any better. However, there has been a big wave of rejuvenating these old properties by giving to good storytellers. They gave She-Ra to a woman named Noelle Stevenson who I knew through the various comic books she has worked on and also through her connection to Critical Role. She is a proven artist who knows how to create things that people care about. Here, she took a stiff eighties cartoon and infused character and heart into it. She also loosened up the art style to make something that is really fun to watch. The show takes the original source material and adds to it and twists it. None of the characters are perfect and there is no annoying comic relief. The show basically works like a magical girl show, with Adora having to deal with both being herself and being She-Ra. People love She-Ra but some people don’t like Adora. I am really interested to see where the story goes because there are a lot of fun moving parts and the art is gorgeous. I definitely recommend it.


Castlevania (2018)

I remember playing Castlevania as a kid both on the NES and on the original Gameboy. I kind of hated it because they were too difficult to have fun with. Still, I loved the lore of the games and the mechanics of the gameplay. I have since seen some gameplay and artwork from later games and I continued to really like the world of the games (much like the Metroid series). When I heard about a new cartoon coming out, I gauged my interest and decided I was not that interested. However, I heard rumblings that the show is really good and those reports were not wrong. The show is short. The first season is four episodes so I breezed through it. The show is about Dracula vowing to basically burn Wallachia to the ground after his wife is murdered by the church. Opposing him and the church is Trevor Belmont, the last of the Belmonts, a family sworn to fight monsters. It is a pretty bloody and brutal show that adheres to the world of the show but expands on it. Stuck between a corrupt church and a horde of monsters, Belmont has few allies and that seems to be the way he likes it. The animation is fluid (and graphic) and the voice acting is really good. I recommend this one as well.


Tombraider (2018)

I never really played any of the Tombraider games nor did I ogle over Lara Croft like many in my age bracket did. I did once play a demo for one of her games and enjoyed it but it just was not what I played on PlayStation. I preferred games like Spyro and Final Fantasy VII. Still, I enjoyed the Angelina Jolie Tombraider movies for their campy 90s action qualities. However, when I heard about this movie based on the revamped Tombraider games, I was curious. So, on a lazy Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I decided to check it out. For starters, Alicia Vikander is a great actress and she brought a lot to this role of a young woman of privilege who lost everything and has a chip on her shoulder. She is opposed by Walton Goggins who has been a sleazy bad guy in a bunch of good things that I have seen. Dominic West plays Lara’s father with the right amount of heart and gravitas. The movie kind of drags in places but it is a fairly interesting romp through archeology. There is a lot of action and not as much acting but I suppose those who played the games expected as much. I recommend it but don’t expect so much.

 

Music of the Week:
North American Pharaohs – Suzy

No Buses – Girl

BREGMA – MILK ft. Jahmed & Thunderous Knight

Kill The Silence – Memories

Joshua Surgeon – No Time For Work

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Childhood Revamped”
– I watched more of Designated Survivor Season 1
– I watched more Hilda Season 1
– I watched more The Haunting of Hill House Season 1
– I watched more Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– Happy Thanksgiving!

Media Update 11/15/2018

November 15, 2018


The Breakfast Club

Yes, I have never actually seen this movie (or I saw it when I was really young and cannot remember). However, I figured it was time to finally watch it after watching a D&D one-shot mixing Breakfast Club with Harry Potter. I am more of a John Waters fan than a John Hughes fan but I recognize that they tackle similar themes from different directions. The movie is about teens starting to discover themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. It is also about them recognizing that they are not all that different. The movie plays with the standard school stereotypes that were even around when I went to school. Emilio Estevez plays the jock, Anthony Michael Hall plays the nerd, Judd Nelson plays the burnout/class clown, Ally Sheedy plays the weird girl, and Molly Ringwald plays the perfect girl. The movie is basically full of conversations between the five of them, allowing very different people to mingle during Saturday detention. When I was in school, I remember times like these where we were forced together with people we would never talk to. It was awful but it was also interesting and I remember those people well. I recommend this classic if I am not the last person to watch it.


In Bruges

This was yet another movie that I had on my list for forever and never got around to watching. I even have the DVD but never watched it just because there is so much to watch. And yet again, this is a movie that I wish that I had watched earlier. This movie is very much in the tradition of movies like The Imposters, Hot Fuzz, and Snatch. The movie is about two Irish hitmen who are sent to the sleepy little town of Bruges in Belgium to hide out. It is a movie about hitmen but very little of that is actually done. The movie is more about people and relationships and a whole lot of dialogue. That dialogue is offbeat and very funny but some of it is also pretty deep. The movie rests on the backs of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson who are such a good duo together, a hitman odd couple who banter incessantly. The female lead is played by Elizabeth Berrington who plays off Farrell beautifully, ending up playing a more dominant character than Colin. Ralph Fiennes plays their boss, a man of principle and no-nonsense in a nonsense world. There is also a small part from Jordan Prentice who gets to play a dickhead Hollywood actor partying it up in Europe. The movie is funny but it also has a heart and the craziness is matched by some deep moments (some of which end up being funny too). I definitely recommend this one.


Designated Survivor

I had watched a few minutes of this show months ago and thought it seemed good enough to follow up on. People who follow this feature know that I have watched a bunch of these types of shows before. I have never really been a fan of Keifer Sutherland, mostly because I disliked the writing on 24. So, the only real experience I had with him was in Metal Gear Solid 5 which is not saying much. Watching this, I realized that he is a pretty good actor. He plays the part of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. When the President, the Vice President, The Cabinet, and Congress are all killed during the State of the Union, he becomes the new acting President of the United States. It is fun to see the bottom member of the highest rung of government suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Sutherland plays it human, making sure we feel everything along with him. I would compare it to West Wing if it was mashed up with Blacklist. There is the struggle to rebuild the Federal government after a tragedy and there is also the mystery of who was behind the attack. So it is one part political drama and one part police procedural. They do a lot to make those two parts work together. There is also a strong supporting cast who I am interested to get to know. I recommend this one too.

Music of the Week:
Indigenous – You Turn My World Around

Wherewolf Therewolf – Praise the Sun

Devastate Me – She Makes War

Chali 2na – Change The World

The Murder Capital – SOMA x O’Hara’s Sessions

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Turning Point”
– I watched more of The Chilling Tales of Sabrina Season 1
– I finished Daredevil Season 3
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I watched more Hilda Season 1
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1

Media Update 11/8/18

November 8, 2018


Hilda

I was raring to tackle this show as soon as Halloween was over as I had heard a lot of good things about it. It looked like Gravity Falls meets Adventure Time and that is a good starting point in explaining what the series is. It is an offbeat British fantasy series set in a world where fantasy creatures are everywhere and are known to the public. The show stars Hilda, a little girl who has spent a lot of time growing up alone with her mother in the wilderness with only fantasy creatures to befriend, many of which do not talk. Her pet is a deer fox (a fox with antlers) that does not talk but has a lot of character. The regular cast also includes her mother who supports and believes in her daughter a hundred percent which is refreshing for a television parent. There is also a tiny bureaucratic elf named Alfor who is there to study the ways of humans. The show covers Hilda and her mum having to move into the big city to start a new life. The fantasy stuff is really great but the bits about Hilda’s relationship to her mother and to her surroundings is very grounded. The humor is very cute, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes surreal, and sometimes just straightforward. However, there is also a touch of sadness to the show as Hilda talks to creatures and people whose lives are not perfect and learns life lessons through her new friends. I definitely recommend it as it is a very imaginative show.


A Wrinkle in Time

I never read this book when I was younger, unlike friends who are a bit older than me. I have always heard it mentioned as a top book in the fantasy/science fiction genre. When the trailers came out, I was definitely reeled in by the all-star cast. The big names are Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha_Raw, Zach Galifianakis, and Michael Pena. The adults are mostly there as guideposts for the three kids to work off of. The absolute star of the movie is Storm Reid who is just an absolute joy to watch. She is so complex for a child actress and she absolutely nailed the part of an older teenager starting to figure out who she is. She has been in movies like Sleight and Twelve Years a Slave before but this is her first major role. The movie was kind of confusing at first as I thought it was science fiction but there is very little of that in the movie. The movie is more a touch of science fantasy (which I prefer) with a lot of philosophy and existentialism. Once I let go and stopped trying to overthink things, the movie was good food visually, mentally, and emotionally. The movie tackles a lot of big concepts like good/evil but it also tackles more relatable issues like adoption, abandonment, bullying, and mental health. It is ultimately a very uplifting film and every piece of the movie worked well together. I definitely recommend it but let the movie wash over you and just enjoy yourself.


Mary and the Witch’s Flower

This is the first Studio Ghibli film that I have seen that was not directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. Well, actually it is from a lot of the old production staff from Ghibli in a new company called Studio Ponoc but it obviously has the same beautiful style. Earlier this year I finally watched Kiki’s Delivery Service, a brilliant film about a young witch coming of age. This movie definitely felt like a spiritual spinoff to that movie even though it is an adaptation of a 1970’s fantasy novel. The movie follows Mary, a young girl who hates her red hair and feels absolutely alone and useless. I think most of us have felt that at some point in our lives. By chance, she stumbles upon the world of magic and is suddenly involved with witches. The movie also reminded me a bit of Little Witch Academia (and by extension Harry Potter), both tales of a modern young person unexpectedly stumbling into the world of magic. Like the two animated examples above, the movie is beautifully animated with Mary herself feeling like such a real character. Once again, these people do such a good job with building the world although they obviously picked great source material as a foundation. Studio Ponoc is just as good as Studio Ghibli was at mixing comedy, drama, horror, and action into something wonderful. I definitely recommend this movie as it lives up to its heritage wonderfully.

Music of the Week:
Jim Wilson – Centre Core Never More

Jon Benjamin – I Can’t Play Piano Pt. 1

Coven – Wicked Woman

Avatar – Paint Me Red

The Clouds Will Clear – In Cycles

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Trippy Rites of Passage”
– I watched more Fate/Apocrypha Season 2
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I watched more Daredevil Season 3
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I watched more The Haunting of Hill House
– I finished watching the Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

Media Update 11/1/18

November 1, 2018


The Babysitter (2018)

I have had this one on my list for over a year and part of the reason I relaxed the theme this week is to make sure I had a place for it. I especially was interested after seeing that the script previously made the 2014 Blacklist and the 2015 Bloodlist. Both are yearly lists of well-reviewed but unproduced scripts. The movie is about a young boy who is curious about what his babysitter does after he goes to sleep. He witnesses her holding a meeting for a satanic cult. That is not even a spoiler, that is the plot blurb on IMDB. What happens next is wild and a lot of fun. This is a horror/comedy movie that leans more into dark comedy. Samara Weaving is in the title role and she is so much fun that it is hard not to like her. Judah Lewis plays the boy who is a little too old for a babysitter but incredibly smart. Bella Thorne has a more minor role as one of the cult members and she is hilarious. Robbie Amell is a legend in this movie and just comes off as hilarious. Andrew Bachelor and Hana Mae Lee round out the cast with minor but memorable roles as more cult members. This movie definitely felt innovative while also clearly being an homage to the horror genre in general. It also felt like it paid tribute to various coming of age movies as well. I definitely recommend it as I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was.


The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

So, I was a huge fan of Melissa Joan Hart back in the day and, because of that, I watched most of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I also saw the character in Archie Digest. When I found out they were making another series based on the character, I was interested. I knew that there had been a more serious take on the franchise in comic book form and I had a feeling it was going to be like that. Also, at the last moment before it was released, the original cast of Sabrina the Teenage Witch endorsed it. Also also, it is created by the same people who created the Riverdale show. Anyway, the show is great. A lot of the core concepts are kept intact with the show set in Riverdale’s neighboring town Greendale. Kiernan Shipka is really likable and easy to empathize with as Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch reaching her 16th birthday. Michelle Gomez plays a teacher with a hidden agenda concerning Sabrina and she is wonderfully sinister. Chance Perdomo is funny and sarcastic as Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose. Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto play her aunts who add a lot of the comic relief. The show has a more apparent “Smash the Patriarchy” feel to it which I can definitely get behind. The show has a few scary and/or gross scenes but it is mild compared to other stuff I have watched in the past. Mostly, I find the world they are creating interesting and I am soaking up the lore. I definitely recommend it.

 


Critters (1986)

This is part of the movies that are classified as Gremlins ripoffs even though the script was written long before Gremlins was released. It is written by Domonic Muir who later wrote Evil Bong and Gingerdead Man (understandably under a pseudonym) so we know he can mix horror and comedy. It is directed by Stephen Herek who later directed Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. Scott Grimes plays the young boy hero and he did a great job for his young age. His mother was played excellently by horror veteran Dee Wallace who I mentioned earlier this month in The Hills Have Eyes. The movie is about creatures that escape an alien prison and come to a rural part of the USA and terrorize a family. It is funny because I saw parallels between this movie and movies like Gremlins, TerrorVision, and the remake of Invaders from Mars. The movie has some comedy but I found it more tense than funny. Part of that is colored by the air of urgency through the whole film. The titular Critters are relentless and nigh unstoppable and things look pretty grim through the whole movie. Also, there was way more blood than I would have expected from a movie classed with Gremlins. Still, the movie ends up being pretty light and fun as we watch a hapless family struggle to survive. It definitely fits in with a lot of the comedic horror films of the time and I think it holds it own in that category. I definitely recommend this one and I wish I had seen it a lot earlier.

 

Music of the Week:
Paramore – Misery Business

Peggy Suave – Posin’

The Gore Gore Girls – Hard Enough

The Weeknd – In The Night

Arcade Fire – Everything Now

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Halloween Hangover” as a recovery from October
– This is also this blog’s 800th post. Wow!
– I finished watching Gotham Season 4
– I watched more of The Haunting of Hill House
– I watched more Daredevil Season 3
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I watched more Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
– I watched more Barry Kramer on YouTube

Media Update 10/25/18

October 25, 2018


Haunting of Hill House (2018)

For those familiar with the original Shirley Jackson novel, this show is an adaptation but not a direct one. It shares plenty of plot elements but is constructed differently but no less interesting. The show follows a family who once lived in “the most haunted house in America” in order to flip it and sell it. To be fair, when they move in it has not yet widely known to be haunted. There is a father, a mother, Three daughters, and two sons. The show uses non-linear storytelling to jump from the past to the present to show the family’s journey. You get to see important events in the kids past and then you see the effects those events had in the present. You get to see the psychological effect that trauma has on a family in the short term and the long term. The editing of this is brilliant as sometimes a kid will open a door and step through and suddenly they are an adult in an entirely different place. We see a lot of parallels between the past and the present and get these great character studies of who these people were, who they are, and why they are who they became. The acting is really good as they really made me believe that the young versions and the older versions were the same people. There are also ghosts but they are almost secondary to the exploration of the family. I recommend it as it is not very scary but definitely intensely interesting.


Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

I have never really been a fan of “craft shows” as I remember seeing a bit of Martha Stewart as a kid and rolling my eyes at it. I need an actual story to keep interested. Later in life, I watched a lot of Discovery Channel when it used to be interesting to me and I would zone out and watch How It’s Made. When I saw this show pop up on Netflix, I dismissed it initially. However, people I trust on twitter started to praise the show and I decided to look into it. The show follows Christine McConnell making Halloween-inspired crafts and foods step by step. While that part did not really interest me (except for the Halloween part) I found out that the show teamed McConnell (an Instagram star? Do they have shows on Instagram?) with Brian Henson. McConnell’s character is a woman who lives in a spooky house with a bunch of monsters played by puppets. These puppets provide a lot of the humor and plot of the show which Christine plays off of and also gives Christine a reason to make random things. I absolutely fell in love with the offbeat humor in the show and the puppetry is really enjoyable. Plus, it is kind of fun to zone out a bit during the crafting segments and just watch her create art especially since Christine is very charismatic. The things she makes are way too much work for me but they are pretty to look at. I definitely recommend it especially to my friends who are very crafty and my friends who are very goofy.


Charmed (2018)

I was a pretty big fan of the original Charmed. It was a show that I started watching ironically and pretty soon I started watching it unironically. I really thought the show really picked up in the fourth season with the addition of Rose McGowan to the cast but I enjoyed all of the seasons. It was a show that explored the supernatural with likable characters, comedy, drama, action, and it did not take itself too seriously. This show is definitely a spiritual successor to that. The show reboots the original show and taking a lot of the central parts to it but also making it its own thing. Once again, there are three sisters who must confront the fact that they were born witches. However, this time they are all in college and not in their mid to late twenties. These three girls are playing different characters than the original although they share a few elements of their backstories. However, for the first time on the show, we get a main character who is a person of color and a main character who is gay. I really feel like this show has potential and, unlike others, I do not immediately dismiss reboots. It feels a lot like the original show (which was fun but totally goofy). Obviously, the special effects are better in the new series and I hope it has some staying power. I recommend it as I want people to watch it so it stays on.

Next Week’s Halloween Schedule:

October 29 – Veronica (2017)

A Splash of Djinn
October 31 – The Outing (1987)
October 31 – Under the Shadow (2016)

November 1 – Media Update – Halloween Hangover

 

Halloween Music of the Week:
Ghost – Dance Macabre

Concrete Blonde – Bloodletting

Lola Blanc – The Magic

Mai Lan – Vampire

Powerwolf – Night Of The Werewolves

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Halloween Television”
– I watched more Gotham Season 4
– I finished The Good Place Season 2
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I started watching Daredevil Season 3

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

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


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