Monday, June 10, 2019

New goal

Not only have I utterly failed in my easily-attainable goal to watch one movie a month (just one!) to post here, I completely neglected to post ANYTHING for the month of May.  Not cool, man.  My excuse is that I've just been so caught up in watching television series.  I got through the Scooby Doo episode of Supernatural, I've started the guilty pleasure that is Pretty Little Liars, I've been getting caught up on the most recent Netflix-able season of Legends of Tomorrow, I'm two episodes deep into S5 of Black MirrorIt doesn't end there either:  the final season of Jessica Jones starts in just a couple days,  S4 of Veronica Mars is just around the corner and I haven't even gotten to start in on Good Omens yet, much to my chagrin.  Golden age of television indeed (give or take Supernatural and PLL).

So I am therefore resetting my goal to this: I want to read all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series by the end of the summer.  I've ready several of those books already, randomly, but this time I'm going chronologically.  I've finished the first four - The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites and Mort.  I think I can attain this goal.  These are quick books for me to read - I just need to keep going to the library.

Other books I've read:  Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, a wonderful collection of short stories that cannot be kept to one genre, instead incorporating horror, comedy, feminism and fantasy; and The Troop by Nick Cutter, a body horror/zombie-ish/Lord of the Flies mash-up that's good enough to have a Stephen King blurb on the front cover.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

For my viewing pleasure

In the last several weeks, I have

Next up is to 
At some point I guess I should probably fold that huge mountain of clean laundry that is looming on the guest bed.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Public service announcement

This is a public service announcement:

WATCH RUSSIAN DOLL (on NETFLIX)


Natasha Lyonne is fantastic.   I've actually watched it twice already (despite having a huge list of other things to watch).  It's so good.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Mini movie review: Free Solo

Oh wow, you guys: Mr. Mouse and I went out to see a movie together.  Like, in the movie theater.  This is the first movie Mr. Mouse has seen in a theater since we moved to Utah ... 9+ years ago.  We went to see the Alex Honnold documentary, Free Solo - and before I say anything about that film, let me just digress about the movie theater.  It was playing in IMAX at the Larry H. Miller Megaplex in Sandy (not my usual movie theater) and it was like going to Las Vegas to see a movie.  There were twenty different screens and the whole place was like walking through the Vegas version of a town.  I can't imagine being there on a Friday or Saturday night when it is thronging with people.

Also: IMAX previews are played way, way, way too loud.

Ahem.  Now that I've gotten my old person reactions to modern movie-going out of the way, Free Solo was great.  The movie chronicles rock climber Alex Honnold's quest to be the first (and quite possibly only) person to free-solo El Capitan - 3,000 feet, without a rope - in Yosemite National Park, which is about the most insane thing a climber has ever done.  The filmmakers are also friends with Alex, so the fourth wall gets broken as they fear for his life in the midst of filming him.  This makes for a very personal film and even though SPOILER he doesn't fall off the face of the cliff and die, it's intense.

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Photo: from National Geographic's Free Solo

Saturday, January 26, 2019

I have already failed

I've blown my one resolution already: I am not going to get a movie review up here before the end of the month.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  Sometimes you're lazy and just want to turn your brain off to watch a bunch of Supernatural episodes.

I have watched Maniac but I truly have nothing coherent to say.  I just didn't get it.  I tried, I really did.  I like weird, trippy shows (Dirk Gently, Legion, to name a couple recent ones) but I just didn't understand Maniac.  I liked the way it looked, I loved Sally Field and Emma Stone.  I just didn't know WTF was going on more often than not.  I don't even think it really mattered that I fell asleep a couple of times either. 

Mr. Mouse and I, having just blown through all eleven seasons of Cheers [full disclosure: I prefer Rebecca to Diane by a long shot], were searching for something else that we both might like.  Seeing how we've watched all available/streaming The Good Place and Better Call Saul episodes, and Brooklyn 99 is not on Netflix (I can't stomach paying for more streaming services lest I start paying as much as when we had cable), we've started Schitt's Creek.  It's funny.  I find Catherine O'Hara a bit grating here but I really like the younger actors - the David and Stevie relationship, at least so far as we've gotten, which is halfway through S1, is tons of fun.

So that's where we stand.  Now shooting for a new movie review in February.  Wish me luck.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Resolutions

I am not a resolutioner but I feel the need to do something here, in public, to hold myself responsible for this little blog.  I started it all the way back in 2007 and while I have never been particularly prolific here (Octobers notwithstanding), I hate the way it has dwindled away since we gave up television and, thus, my television show recapping.  I haven't been reading much and I've mostly been watching Netflix television - Supernatural, Maniac (which I want to like but find a little boring), 3% (I liked S1 but S2 got ... a little boring), rewatching Jessica Jones and The Punisher and The Defenders because that's the mood I've been in.

So my promise/resolution is that I will watch at least one movie a month that is new to me and that I will review here.  I'd like to think that I'll do more like two or three, but let's start small and see how it goes.

But I'm going to finish S2 of JJ first.  Let's just be honest here.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Dumplin'

Y'all, I know I've been incommunicado (persona non grata?) around here lately.  There's been holiday stuff to get done and I have been in a Jessica Jones / The Punisher re-watch mood lately.  I've also watched S1 of 3% (Netflix, in Portuguese with English subtitles), a vaguely Hunger Games-ish dystopian science fiction show about poor Brazilians competing against one another to win a spot in a Utopian-community on an island off-shore.  I devoured the first season but have stalled out on S2 for the moment.  I also read and very much enjoyed The Library at Mount Char (recommended by a work friend who said, "It's weird.  I thought of you."): a violent fantasy pitting very special orphans against each other (and their adoptive father, who may be God) for control of the world.

But the real reason I'm making sure to post tonight is this.  Do yourself a favor.  Watch this video - which has glamorous drag queens (including one of my favorites, BenDeLaCreme) lip-sync to a remix of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," to advertise Netflix's Dumplin' - and then get over to Netflix and watch Dumplin'.  The chunky daughter of a former beauty queen enters a local pageant with several friends and misfits, first intending on taking it down/making a point, but instead embracing a Dolly-ism: "Figure out who you are and then do it on purpose."  Touching on (but not belaboring) friendship, loyalty, healthy body image and confidence, this little movie is very funny, real, honest and touching.  Plus drag queens!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mini movie review: The Blackcoat's Daughter

Another gorgeous, creeping and creepy horror film from Oz Perkins - auteur of I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House - The Blackcoat's Daughter is all atmosphere with a little bit of stabbing.  To paraphrase an online review I read, you can't call it a slow burn because that makes you think it's all leading to something big.  TBD doesn't lead to anything big (except that little bit of stabbing) but the journey is the point, I think.

At an isolated upstate New York Catholic girls' school, almost everyone has taken off for the break.  Only Kat, an awkward freshman (Kiernan Shipka), and upperclassman Rose (Lucy Boynton) are still there, their parents not having shown up to pick them up yet.  Rose fears she may be pregnant and uses the extra time to tell her boyfriend about it; Kat is weird even before the rumors of Satan-worshiping nuns start floating around and when we learn that her parents have died in a car crash on their way to the school, well, that's just not good for anyone.  In a separate but connected storyline, Joan (Emma Roberts) is an obviously disturbed and/or abused young woman who gets picked up by good samaritans at the bus station.

I don't want to go into the plot any further because, well, there's just not that much more.  The acting is all very good; the cinematography shows the stark bleakness of the school's interiors and exteriors.  There is some violence (little bit of stabbing) and some blood, but most everything happens out of frame.  What I didn't expect was the accumulation of dread: I was sincerely creeped out by the end of this movie - without being actually scared or grossed out - and had to watch an episode of Supernatural afterwards so I could be sure to fall asleep.

The Blackcoat's Daughter is good for people who like their Satan-worshiping/demonic possessions on the sophisticated, atmospheric and stylish-yet-creepy side.  Recommended.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ninth Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series: #22 Wolfcop

It is because of my abiding love for werewolf movies that we end this year's Scarelicious October Movie series with the truly ridiculous Canadian C-movie: Wolfcop.  It's pretty much all there, right in the title.

Deputy Lou Garou (see what they did there?  "Loup-garou" is French for werewolf) is a hard-drinking waste of space, a poor excuse for a cop in small town Woodhaven.  Not that the bar is set particularly high: the Woodhaven populace seems to consist of thugs, drunks, drug dealers and hunters.  When investigating a disturbance call one night, Lou is knocked unconscious and wakes up back in his own bed with heightened senses, a pentagram carved into his chest and facial hair that sprouts faster than he can shave it.  His initial transformation comes that night and since it happens while he's taking a leak in a bar bathroom, he transforms penis first, which is not anything I ever thought I'd see.  Soon enough he is making the rounds in wolf-guise, stopping liquor store robberies and busting up meth labs.  Lou is a better cop as a werewolf than he ever was as a regular guy.

This movie is not good.  It is pretty much incoherent and stupid; there's some "plot" about a sinister cabal turning people into werewolves and sacrificing them for "reasons," but the only - and I mean ONLY - reason to watch Wolfcop is for the practical effects.  While Wolf-Lou's fully-transformed facial make-up is not great, the transformations are pretty good, especially given the low, low, low, low budget.  The gory fight scenes are good too, with Wolf-Lou pulling off arms, legs and faces.

And there's a hot chick with big boobs having sex with a werewolf in a jail cell.  She lit candles.  It was something.

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That's all for this year, folks! Hope you found something here you want to see (not Wolfcop).  We'll do it again in 2019 for the Tenth one!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ninth Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series: #21 Hush

Home invasion flicks are not really my thing but, as previously mentioned, good (for me) horror movie streaming options are limited, so why not try Hush?  And it's only 82 minutes so that's a plus.

Writer Maddie lives alone in a lovely house in the middle of the woods.  She is deaf and mute from a childhood illness but totally self-sufficient and her nice neighbors, Sarah and John, walk over now and again to check on her.  One night, as Maddie is cleaning up after dinner, she fails to notice a screaming, crying Sarah pounding on her door, trying to get away from a masked man who then guts her, right there on Maddie's porch.  After dispatching his prey, the killer is fascinated that Maddie has shown no sign of hearing him.  He can't stand not having her attention so he sneaks into her house, steals her cell phone and alerts her to his presence by sending her photos of herself while she is on her computer, struggling with the seven possible endings to her latest draft novel.  When he goes out of the house to cut her power and wifi and slash her car tires, she locks him out.  Then begins the cat and mouse game, as he stalks and torments her - both of them know he could break a window and get into the house at any time.  Plus, she can't make a run for it because he has a crossbow, giving him a range advantage.

Hush seems to unfold real-time once the killer makes himself known to Maddie.  Even so, 82 minutes seemed to drag a bit, although there isn't any lull in the action once it gets going.  The ending is seriously telegraphed right from the first act - so totally obvious that even I picked up on it, and I'm usually oblivious to such things.  This is a straightforward horror movie: a little suspenseful with no cheap jump scares (for which I was grateful), with brutal violence combated by some serious girl power (nevertheless, Maddie persisted).  It isn't really scary and the outcome is obvious but you could certainly do worse.

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