Settle down folks, settle down. I know you’ve all been waiting for this one. I know out of all the things I write about here, the thing I know as an objective fact, is that everyone wants me to continue watching and reviewing the Hallowe– oh, you don’t care about a late entry in a dying (some would consider it dead by the time this film came out) slasher franchise? Well, uhh, too bad. I watched it, so now I’m going to write about it.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is the fifth sequel in the Halloween series that nobody asked for. I’m surprised that it took six whole movies for the producers to stop tying a number to the title, usually that ends at the third or fourth movie when they’re embarrassed by how many sequels they’re shitting out for a quick buck. To be honest, I’m a little tired of the subtitle of these movies being The [Insert Thing Here] of Michael Myers.
I’ve honestly been trying to write this review for months (my last Halloween review was in June) and that paragraph is the only thing I’ve managed to conjure up about the movie without rolling my eyes so hard I get brain damage. Since this will stay in my Post Draft folder forever unless I delete it or post it, I present to you a review of comparable laziness and shittiness to its subject. Here are the unedited notes I took while watching Halloween: The Curse of Neverending, Sub-par Slasher Sequels.
Whoops, I guess I lied when I said I won’t be going to a theater anytime soon. Turns out I’ll be going out to the movies more times in December than I have all year. My family makes a tradition of going out to watch a movie on Christmas Day, and this year we were torn, so we all got together and watched the trailers for a handful of new releases and then voted on which we’d want to watch. The options were Sing, Moana, Lion, and La La Land. Based on the title of this post, I’m sure you’re smart enough to deduce what we ended up seeing.
La La Land is the third full length film from writer/ director Damien Chazelle. “Hmmm… Damien Chazelle, how come that name sounds kind of familiar?” I hear you say. Maybe it’s because he wrote the cartoonish Grand Piano, or the dour and intense 10 Cloverfield Lane. Maybe it’s because his last directing effort was a little movie about drumming and throwing chairs called Whiplash. Chazelle has only been on the radar for a handful of years, but apparently he’s only able to crank out the hits.
La La Land is a very simple movie with a very simple premise. Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz pianist aspiring to own his own jazz club and keep jazz alive and thriving in the L.A. scene. Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring but struggling actress who is trying to navigate her way through the Hollywood minefield to make a name for herself. They meet, and fall in love. Life ensues.
Woah! What is this? I’m writing about a movie released within the last week? It’s a Christmas miracle! Don’t get to used to it kiddos, because I hate movie theaters and probably won’t see another movie on opening weekend for a loooong time.
Remember way back when I said hit guerrilla film maker Gareth Edwards has been swallowed up by the corporate machine, I totally missed the fact that he’s the director for this year’s Star Wars film, Rogue One.
Disney’s Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode 3.5: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the newest movie in the yearly Star Wars output that Disney has scheduled for the next 500 years. Rogue One is a companion piece to the core Star Wars saga, showing how the Rebel Alliance discovers and steals the plans for the Death Star between Episode III and Episode IV.
Full disclosure: this review is going to be chocked full of spoilers. Also full disclosure: get a tall glass of something to drink, because I’m going to be real salty.
Go watch Rogue One before reading this. Or don’t. I mean, honestly, if you’ve seen A New Hope, I think you can figure out how this one ends.
Google defines mediocre as:
Adjective: of only moderate quality; not very good.
“a mediocre meal”
Synonyms: ordinary, average, middling, middle-of-the-road, uninspired, undistinguished, indifferent, unexceptional, unexciting, unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, pedestrian, prosaic, lackluster, forgettable, amateur, amateurish; Informal: OK, so-so, ‘comme ci, comme ça’, plain-vanilla, fair-to-middling, no great shakes, not up to much, bush-league. (more…)
It’s the state of the film industry in 2016 is that any independent director with even a hint of talent or vision gets snatched up by a giant studio to begin working on $100 million dollar blockbuster movies where they have almost no agency over how the movie will be made. They are just names to be used for marketing rather than actual filmmakers for these gargantuan projects. Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) and James Gunn (Slither, Super) were gobbled up by Marvel to direct The first two Avenger movies and Guardians of the Galaxy respectively. Gareth Edwards (Monsters) got pulled on board to direct the terribly mediocre 2014 Godzilla flick (thank god Toho have taken the Godzilla IP back). Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) helmed Jurassic World and is expected to direct Star Wars Episode IX. Marvel almost had Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, The World’s End) in to direct Ant-Man, but when Wright fought to have creative control over the film but when the Disney owned movie factory refused to budge on the subject, Wright told them to fuck off and left the project.
Since this odd trend of taking independent, relatively low budget creators and sticking them in charge of movies that cost three times more than the GDP of the polynesian island nation of Tuvalu and thinking everything will be okay seems to be picking up steam, I worry that some of my favorite directors will get swept up into this chaos and won’t be able to work on projects that they are really passionate about. One of those directors is Jeremy Saulnier, director of one of my favorite movies, Blue Ruin.
Saulnier’s most recent project is Green Room, a punk rock bottle-movie thriller starring the late Anton Yelchin and the indomitable Sir Patrick Stewart. The plot to Green Room is very simple. The Ain’t Rights, a young, down on their luck punk band get a gig at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar in the Pacific Northwest. They need the money badly, so they decide to play, get paid, and get the hell out of there as soon as possible (not before souring a few skinheads’ days by tearing through the hardcore classic Nazi Punks Fuck Off). On their way out after their set they witness a brutal murder on premises, and therein lies the main conflict of Green Room. The Ain’t Rights want to go home, and the neo-Nazis want them dead. It’s one of those narratives that seem a little too schlocky and over the top, but Saulnier treats it with a bleak, dour seriousness and intensity that keeps the audience from suspending their disbelief or losing immersion as the film chugs along.
I signed up for the horror streaming service Shudder (it’s pretty much Netflix for horror fans). I was hesitant to add yet another subscription based payment to by credit card every month, but at five bucks a month, I eventually caved and signed up. What really drew me in was their selection. Being one of the few remaining video store clerks in existence I’ve witnessed the ridiculous price mark-ups that are put on old out of print horror flicks or anything being re-released by Arrow Video, and seeing titles like The Mutilator, Blood Rage, and Microwave Massacre on Shudder warmed my shrivelled horror geek heart enough to throw money their way. I’ve watched a couple movies using Shudder over the last few weeks that are worth writing about, so I’ll spare a review of Shudder itself for another post but until then, here are reviews of two of the goriest movies I’ve ever seen in my life (and they couldn’t be any more different). (more…)