Despite my love of weird, artsy movies, I’ve got soft spots for schlock and Big Dumb Action Movies. Commando, Predator, Crank are all well within my wheelhouse, and while I thought at most of these films were stuck in the ’80s or only found in crazy neo-grindhouse directors like Neveldine/Taylor, turns out I only needed to look at the most popular modern incarnations of Big and Dumb and Action. Lucky for me, they all reside in the same thing: WWE Wrestling.
The Marine is a 2006 action movie starring John Cena as John Triton, a marine who is honorably discharged from the US Marine Corps for single-handedly annihilating an Al-Queda base in Iraq against orders. Once he’s reintegrated back into the normal, mundane life of being a war-hero-turned-office-security-guard, he finds himself yearning to use the skills he learned out on his tour of duty that would get him arrested or fired here. Lucky for Mr. Triton, his wife gets kidnapped by some high profile diamond thieves (read: his wife gets plot deviced by some shoehorned plot devices) while they’re at a gas station, and BAM!
John Triton gets to go on a wild rampage across rural America to save his wife by murder, violence, explosions, guns, guns, boom, pow, running, jumping, car chase, running, blam blam blam, ka-pow! Maybe an American bald eagle soars in the distance, I don’t know. This movie was a flurry of blows to the senses, so it’s hard to write about it coherently. It’s produced by WWE Studios, which I always dismissed as being the producers of low budget, low quality action flicks that are just made to cash in on the success of whatever wrestler is popular at the time and while I can’t vouch for any of their other movies, they’ve definitely marked themselves on my radar after watching The Marine.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about a whole season of a show rather than a movie, and funnily enough, the last one I wrote about was also a Netflix series. Sure, I’ve written about John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper‘s episodes of Masters of Horror, but those are pretty much short films independent of each other rather than one cohesive story told though multiple episodes. What am I saying, you know what a TV show is, you’re not an idiot (I hope). This show has stirred up a lot of controversy with people jumping on either side of the fence and naturally so, being a show that tackles subjects like depression, suicide, and sexual assault. Some people are adamant that the show inaccurately portrays these things and their consequences and that the show is doing more harm than good, while some others feel like this show is taking a brave stance to bring these subjects to light in a time when they’re the most relevant to our current youth culture. I’m not here to tell one side or another which is right or wrong. I’m here to just, like, give my opinion, man.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month and a half, 13 Reasons Why is the newest Netflix series to take the world by storm. In small town USA, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a girl who has just moved to town and started in Liberty High School has killed herself. Slit wrists in a bathtub. After her death, her classmates find a box of cassette tapes, each side dedicated to a person or an event that she believes led her to take her own life. The tapes make their way to Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette, who was quite good in Don’t Breathe), a quiet, smart kid who was a friend of Hannah’s. Through his eyes we get to see Hannah’s story and everything that culminated in her taking her own life. This show is based on the book of the same name, written by Jay Asher. I haven’t read the book and I don’t intend to. I don’t care how faithful or unfaithful it is to the source material, I just care how well it holds up on its own. (more…)
Many of you who have read through this blog probably know my opinions on Blumhouse Productions by now. For those of you who don’t, I have a tumultuous, love-hate relationship with them. They single-handedly shot horror into mainstream culture about a decade ago with low budget, decent quality movies which is awesome, but they’ve been resting on their laurels since, and have begun pandering to the lowest common denominator because they’ve discovered the secret formula to print money (See: Paranormal Activity 5: The Ghost Dimension’s $10 million budget and nearly $80 million box office return).
They seem to be running on a business model of throwing as many low budget horror movies at the wall as possible and seeing which ones stick. Majority of them are kinda shitty movies that bounce off harmlessly, but every once in a while, a real gem will come through, and when it sticks, it sticks. I’m talking non-stop critical acclaim and 4700% returns on it’s budget here, people. This ain’t some Mickey Mouse shit here.
Get Out is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, and the fact that the surrealist funnyman (from sketch comedy duo Key & Peele) chose to direct a horror movie is an interesting one.
Get Out is a horror film about Chris and Rose (Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams) a young couple who have been going steady for a while. Rose invites Chris to spend a weekend at her rich parents’ (Dean is a neurosurgeon and Missy is a psychologist, played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener respectively) house, except there’s one hang up — Rose’s parents, the Armitages, don’t know that Chris is… black. Don’t worry, because Rose assures Chris that her parents might be super-white, but they’ll try their absolute hardest not to offend Chris, no matter how cringe-worthy they might get.
White people, am I right?
When Chris finally gets to spend a weekend with he Armitages and their super old, affluent white friends, he notices things are kind of off around the house. The two servants happen to be black, and seem to behave from incredibly off kilter to completely hostile. Some awkward phrases are exchanged between family members, their servants, and Chris and our protagonist slowly realizes that something much more sick and twisted is going on than casual, inadvertent racism.
White people, am I right?
Editor’s Note: I started writing this out of pure unadulterated passion when I got home after watching this. After sleeping it off, I continued writing it in a much more calm, cool, and collected fashion. I decided to keep the bits I wrote the night of.
I’m writing this while sipping on a pilsner and riding out a sugar high from too many Mars bar bites. My friends and I made an evening out of this. We assembled with snacks and whiskey and craft beer and watched one of the worst received movies this year. We do this often, bad movie nights, but this feels special. It’s a bittersweet feeling, making a ritual out of consuming somebody else’s art to purposefully make fun of it.
Wait, did I just call The Bye Bye Man art? Fuck me. I’d like to formally apologize to the entirety of human arts and culture. (more…)
Go call your mom, your dad, your brothers and sisters if you have any, and tell them you love them.
Incendies is a French-Canadian (woo!) film by superstar Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve. I’ve written in the past about some of his films, pretty much all of which I’ve loved. Well, tally one more up for Mr. Villeneuve, because Incendies might just be a new favorite of mine from him.
It kicks off with Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon Marwan (Maxime Gaudette), Canadian twins of Middle Eastern descent who are meeting at their mother’s notary’s office after she has passed away. Included in their mother Nawal’s (Lubna Azabal) will, are two envelopes, one for their father and one for their brother. The friction starts immediately as the Marwans never knew their presumably dead father and have never had another sibling. Jeanne travels to their mother’s birthplace, an unspecified country in the Middle East to trace the steps of her mother’s life so she can solve the mystery of her missing father and brother. Simon, reluctant at first, eventually joins her with Lebel, the aforementioned notary. While in the Middle East learning about their strange family history from locals who seem to resent them on sight, they slowly begin learning a dark secret about their family that they couldn’t even have imagined.
Tombstone is one of those movies that nobody talks about, but anytime you admit that you haven’t seen it, whoever you’re talking to is bound to violently react with a sharp gasp and a “what do you mean you haven’t seen Tombstone?!” like you just admitted that you’ve never eaten a hamburger in your life. Today, I fixed that problem. Watched Tombstone, that is. Anyone who looks at my midriff will know for a fact that I’ve eaten many, many hamburgers in my lifetime.
Tombstone is an American western-action film based on the true story of Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russel), a retired wild west lawman who wants to settle down in Tombstone, Arizona, but is roped back into dishing out rifle-fueled justice with his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliot) and Morgan (Bill Paxton, R.I.P.) and an old friend and con-artist Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer). The Cowboys, a gang nearly one hundred strong has been terrorizing Tombstone and its surrounding area, and after a couple violent and bloody run-ins with the gang and it’s leaders Curly Bill (Powers Boothe) and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), the Earp brothers and Doc don law badges and set out to clean up Tombstone once and for all. Also, if you’re marveling at how all-star this cast is, let me inform you that Charlton Heston, Stephen Lang, Jason Priestley, and Paula Malcomson are also in it.