Studio Ghibli Mini-Reviews: My Neighbors The Yamadas, Tales From Earthsea, Pom Poko & Earwig And The Witch

It was all over Twitter that the Studio Ghibli movies were gonna disappear from Netflix U.K. at the end of May. Even though I knew I’d already seen all the best ones by far, I’ve still been desperate to watch all the rest for years now as I adore Studio Ghibli. So I watched these remaining four before the 1st of June. The only one I have left to watch, which I want to see the most but have to wait since my family want to see it too, is The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (but luckily I have the DVD).

Well, the Ghibli movies are still on Netflix. Oh well – it got me closer to my goal! 🙂

These four confirm that I had indeed already seen the best. I’ve ranked the four at the bottom of my ranked Ghibli list here on Letterboxd (the only other one at the bottom being Ocean Waves). But one of these was still quite delightful, one was perfectly fine but very forgettable, one had way too many testicles, and one was sadly not worthy of the Ghibli name.

I just want to add that for some stupid reason I completely forgot to mention the coolest thing I’ve done in a very long time back in January. I can’t believe I didn’t mention this in my January roundup post! I’m just not used to doing interesting real-life things that relate to my stupid little movie blog. 🙂 I went to see the live production of My Neighbor Totoro at The Barbican in London. It was absolutely AMAZING. It did the film justice without harming its legacy in any way. The way they represented the soot sprites was so clever and the Totoros they created were perfect. And the Cat Bus! The acting was brilliant as well. They couldn’t have done a better job with such a beloved movie & score. Am happy to see they’ve added more shows now. I’d very highly recommend it to all Studio Ghibli fans. And you almost got a picture of me at it but other people are in all the photos too close to me to cut them out so here’s a photo of the lobby instead. 😉

Now let’s review these rather disappointing Studio Ghibli movies…

My Neighbors The Yamadas (1999) (ホーホケキョとなりの山田くん, Hōhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun)

Directed by Isao Takahata

Based on Nono-chan by Hisaichi Ishii

Starring: Hayato Isobata, Masako Araki, Naomi Uno, Touru Masuoka

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
The life and misadventures of a family in contemporary Japan.

My Opinion:

A fun series of vignettes with a delightful & very relatable family. The format reminded me somewhat of the Peanuts skits, which I absolutely adore. It’s certainly not up there with the Hayao Miyazaki Ghiblis (of course) and I’d rank it below most of the non-Miyazaki Ghiblis as well but it’s still worthy of the Ghibli name. It‘s just so different from the style & wonderfully bizarre nature of the Ghibli films I love the most, which is why it won’t ever be a favorite for me personally. But it was a very sweet film & a pleasant watch. 

My Rating: 7/10

Tales From Earthsea (2006) (ゲド戦記)

Directed by Gorō Miyazaki

Based on Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin & Shuna’s Journey by Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Bunta Sugawara, Junichi Okada, Aoi Teshima, Yūko Tanaka

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
In a mythical land, a man and a young boy investigate a series of unusual occurrences.

My Opinion:

Not one of Studio Ghibli’s best (it’s hard to live up to those) but I can’t quite put my finger on why? It has Ghibli fantasy elements that I like & a Ghibli look. It’s a much more straightforward story & far less “strange” than my favorites, so maybe that’s why it’s less memorable? Seriously – I watched this a week ago & I barely remember it already. That’s not something you can say about their films like Spirited Away, etc. It’s a simple story with fairly unremarkable characters. That warlock was pretty cool, though. And quite terrifying, so this one wouldn’t be for really young kids. He was sort of a scary combination of Howl & of the wizard from Ponyo. Most memorable thing about this film. Oh, and the cool dragons too (which are barely in this).

I still enjoyed this & think it’s a good anime film, just not a great Ghibli film. I’d say it’s most similar to The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun, which isn’t a Ghibli film but may as well be as it’s from Isao Takahata & was also worked on by Hayao Miyazaki. I liked that one a bit more. Both are worth watching if you’re a very big Ghibli fan like I am & want to watch them all.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Pom Poko (1994) (平成狸合戦ぽんぽこ, Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko)

Directed & Written by Isao Takahata

Starring: Kokontei Shinchou, Makoto Nonomura, Yuriko Ishida

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A community of magical shape-shifting raccoon dogs struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.

My Opinion:

I expected to like this one the most of these four as it looked the most bizarre, which is something I love about Ghibli. But I think it featured just a few too many testicles for my liking.


*Balls*

I did appreciate the weirdness of Pom Poko, although it’s not the beautiful & magical sort of weirdness that I love in the very best Ghiblis. Some of the humor was fun but the story was far darker than I was expecting. Between all the death & all the testicles, it’s certainly not one for the youngest Ghibli fans. And while I normally prefer memorable films to boring ones (and I will certainly never forget Pom Poko), I just wasn’t feeling this one. I’m glad I’ve watched it as I’ve been wanting to see all the Ghibli films but this isn’t one I’ll have any desire to watch again, which is unlike most of the studio’s other films I’ve happily watched multiple times. So I’ve ranked this below the rather bland & forgettable Tales From Earthsea as I liked that story much more & that one felt more like a Ghibli film to me.

Pom Poko was disappointing but, as I said, at least it was memorable. Seriously, though. What was with the testicles?! Okay – those bits were kind of hilarious. I’m giving this an extra half a point just for the balls.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Earwig And The Witch (2020) (アーヤと魔女, Āya to Majo)

Directed by Gorō Miyazaki

Based on Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones

Starring: Shinobu Terajima, Etsushi Toyokawa, Gaku Hamada, Kokoro Hirasawa

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
An orphan girl, Earwig, is adopted by a witch and comes home to a spooky house filled with mystery and magic.

My Opinion:

Oh dear. This is indeed the worst Studio Ghibli film. But if the Ghibli name wasn’t attached to it, would we all think it was so bad? It’s certainly not the worst animated film I’ve ever seen. I’d say it’s something along the lines of the weakest films from Illumination or DreamWorks such as Sing or Home. You know, the kind of stuff you’ll happily watch once with your young kids to keep them entertained and then hopefully not have to watch a hundred more times if they then decide that’s their favorite movie. But that’s not what we expect from Studio Ghibli, who have made so many gorgeous & brilliant films that I as well as my daughter adore and have watched many, many times. The animation in Earwig is so ugly by comparison. Unfortunately, the character is also quite unlikeable, which I wasn’t expecting. I think they were trying to make her seem “cheeky” and precocious but she crossed the line into slightly annoying too often. The story is okay, I guess. I like a story about witches but it was hard to be interested when I didn’t care about any of the underdeveloped characters. And I can see why people complain about the ending. It just stops so abruptly. Could we not get a little closure? At least a small explanation? I thought maybe we’d get a “here’s what happened next” as they had some images through the credits but they didn’t fill in enough of the blanks. 

I don’t know. It’s just a very frustrating film. It’s not absolutely terrible. But it’s not Ghibli. In all honesty, I liked it enough that I’d watch a sequel if it promised to continue the story properly. And I thought the band was actually pretty cool. A sequel could focus more on that and maybe include flashbacks with some cool songs? But I think it’s safe to say that a sequel to the most widely hated Ghibli film is extremely unlikely.

My Rating: 6/10
(My score is being very generous)

Halloween Ends (2022) Review

Halloween Ends (2022)

Directed by David Gordon Green

Based on Characters by John Carpenter & Debra Hill

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, James Jude Courtney

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows Corey Cunningham, a young man who falls in love with Laurie Strode’s granddaughter while a series of events, including crossing paths with Michael Myers, render him a murderous outcast.

My Opinion:

I’m not a massive Halloween series fan, although I’ve watched them all other than Resurrection & the second Rob Zombie one as I’d suffered enough through his first piece of shit (I’m an Elm Street girl). I do think the 1978 Halloween is a horror classic, with one of the all-time best music themes, but I could live without the rest. Well, the second film is okay. Having said that, I thought Halloween Ends wasn’t terrible? It’s still a pretty rubbish horror film just like all the other Halloween sequels but it’s certainly not the worst in this entire series.

Of this specific trilogy, I think the first film is actually quite good & the best by FAR but I liked Ends more than Kills. At least it tried something different? But I’m guessing that hardcore Halloween fans weren’t fond of this one? Hell, Michael Myers is barely even in it! But that’s fine with me since I think he’s kind of a shit villain anyway. He’s boring. So I liked what they tried to do with the character of Corey (even though he was annoying). And the opening scene was good. 

But I’ll still forget this film a year from now, the way I barely even remember Kills now. It just didn’t feel like much actually happened in this film. It was very anticlimactic. And it’s nice that Laurie Strode is baking pumpkin pies & talking about cherry blossoms & shit but that was also pretty silly. Meh. Whatever. To be honest, I don’t know how I’d except them to “end” these films. Would like to think Strode could indeed get a happy ending at least. But you know they’ll make more of these fucking movies…

I reviewed Halloween 1 through 6 here for Halloween a couple of years ago. Definitely like “The Loomis Timeline” (or whatever they call each of these) the most. Too bad these three David Gordon Green films didn’t go well after a strong start in 2018.

My Rating: 6/10

Rye Lane (2023), The Mother (2023) & Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) Reviews

These 2023 films were fine. Okay. Meh. Nothing to write home about. Blah. I’m so bored with “fine”. Liked The Mother the most out of these.

The Mother (2023)

Directed by Niki Caro

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick, Paul Raci, Gael García Bernal

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
While fleeing from dangerous assailants, an assassin comes out of hiding to protect her daughter she left earlier in life.

My Opinion:

This was fine. Love “protective kick-ass mother” movies so watched this to see the mother/daughter scenes more than the action. The story & the action were okay but preferred watching Lopez with the daughter & having to make heartbreaking decisions to do whatever it takes to protect her.

I think Lopez deserves more credit, as she’s proven she can easily do something like this just as well as comedy & romance. She’s been in some decent films but let’s get her into even better ones. Have really liked her in all her recent straight-to-streaming films (this, Shotgun Wedding & Marry Me). She was the best thing about all of them and made them worth watching.

Oh, I should add that I liked the music used in this movie: Massive Attack, Kate Bush & Grimes (yes I like Grimes).

My Rating: 6/10

Peter Pan & Wendy (2023)

Directed by David Lowery

Based on Walt Disney’s Peter Pan Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie

Starring: Jude Law, Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Yara Shahidi, Alyssa Wapanatâhk, Joshua Pickering, Jacobi Jupe, Molly Parker, Alan Tudyk, Jim Gaffigan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The story follows Peter Pan and Wendy, who go to the magical world of Neverland with Wendy’s brothers and Peter’s best friend Tinker Bell. Along the way, Wendy embarks on the adventure that will change her life and encounters Peter’s archenemy Captain Hook.

My Opinion:

This was also… Fine?

There’s nothing really wrong with this adaptation so I don’t see why it’s getting such bad reviews. There have been far worse live action Disney films (Hello, Tom Hanks Pinocchio?!). But, meh. This has never been one of my favorite stories anyway. Are we supposed to grow up or not?! The acting from the kids was a little dodgy but I liked Tinker Bell not being a total bitch.

My Rating: 6/10

Rye Lane (2023)

Directed by Raine Allen-Miller

Starring: David Jonsson, Vivian Oparah

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It stars David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah as two strangers who have a chance encounter, after having both been through recent breakups, and spend the day getting to know each other.

My Opinion:

Liked the couple, enjoyed the London setting, love A Tribe Called Quest, was a little bored by the story. A pleasant enough film – I think I’m just finding it difficult to relate to twentysomethings these days. Fun cameo.

But, again… Just “fine”.

My Rating: 6/10

I’m Your Man (2021), John And The Hole (2021) & 20th Century Girl (2022) Reviews

Three quickies today. These weren’t too bad…

I’m Your Man (2021) (German: Ich bin dein Mensch)

Directed by Maria Schrader

Starring: Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller, Hans Löw, Wolfgang Hübsch, Annika Meier, Falilou Seck, Jürgen Tarrach, Henriette Richter-Röhl, Monika Oschek

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
In order to obtain research funds for her studies, a scientist accepts an offer to participate in an extraordinary experiment: for three weeks, she is to live with a humanoid robot, created to make her happy.

My Opinion:

Always love sci-fi films exploring AI & its dangers & what it means to be human. I’ll always watch this subgenre although it’s been done so much that the ideas have pretty much all been explored in previous films already.

I’d say this one brings something fairly new to the table, though, in really focusing on if we could have a truly meaningful relationship with a robot specifically built to be our ideal mate in every way. It’s certainly something to think about. So I could have a Chris Hemsworth-looking robot that pretends to be madly in love with me & caters to my every need?! Hmm. Several years ago I’d have gone “No thanks!” (I’ve seen The Terminator way too many times) but the human race is pissing me off so damn much lately that I’m thinking, you know, “Mayyyyyybe?”…

My Rating: 7.5/10

20th Century Girl (2022) (Korean: 20세기 소녀)

Directed & Written by Bang Woo-ri

Starring: Kim Yoo-jung, Byeon Woo-seok, Park Jung-woo, Roh Yoon-seo

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A South Korean film that depicts the friendship and freshness of first love against the backdrop of 1999.

My Opinion:

My daughter really likes this South Korean romance drama & has watched it several times. Was so happy when she actually asked me to watch it with her! If you like overly dramatic teen romances, this one is well worth a watch. Very likeable characters & a good story. Will be shocked if they don’t do an annoyingly pointless American remake. If they do, watch the original instead.

But, man – these teens really need to learn how to communicate. Would have stopped so many misunderstandings in this. And those girls were soooo dramatic. That was cute, though. It’s a sweet film.

My Rating: 7/10

John And The Hole (2021)

Directed by Pascual Sisto

Based on El Pozo by Nicolás Giacobone

Starring: Charlie Shotwell, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle, Taissa Farmiga

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film revolves around a boy who discovers an unfinished bunker in the neighboring woods of his home.

My Opinion:

Was intrigued despite the bad reviews as I wanted to know why a boy stuck his family down a hole. Unfortunately, when the film ended, I still wanted to know why a boy stuck his family down a hole.

Didn’t hate this movie, though, and still liked the idea. Just don’t go into it expecting an explanation. Do wonder if it has a deeper meaning that I missed. And I think it may be trying to say something about how much it sucks to be an adult? But it also might just be a movie about a boy who stuck his family down a hole.

My Rating: 6/10

The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, We Have A Ghost & Murder Mystery 2 Reviews

Four 2023 movies today. One I even saw in the cinema! It was okay but very kiddie. One straight-to-streaming was decent & the other two were meh…

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

Directed by Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic

Based on Mario by Nintendo

Starring: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film features an origin story for the brothers Mario and Luigi, two Italian-American plumbers who are transported to an alternate world and become entangled in a battle between the Mushroom Kingdom, led by Princess Peach, and the Koopas, led by Bowser.

My Opinion:

This was cute. It’s aimed very young (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I’m an old fart of the Space Invaders generation & never been into games (except Duke Nukem, Myst & Plants Vs Zombies – what a dork). So I don’t know much about Mario etc & wasn’t going to get the same level of nostalgic enjoyment out of this. I’m sure little kids love it, though, and the characters were fun even though I only knew some of them. I adore Jack Black so he was my favorite thing about this (and I can’t get that Peaches song out of my head). The story is simple but, hey, it’s for kids. Cute & inoffensive entertainment for the family with probably just enough to keep the older Mario fans in the audience happy as well.

Oh! I should add that I loved that adorable little blue flame dude of doom as well. Blue flame dude & Jack Black rule this movie.

My Rating: 6/10

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (2023)

Directed by Guy Ritchie

Starring: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Hartnett, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone, Hugh Grant

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is about a spy, Orson Fortune (Statham), who must retrieve a stolen high-tech device before an arms dealer (Grant) can sell it to the highest bidder.

My Opinion:

A bit confused by the really bad reviews as I thought this was quite fun. Admittedly, it’s not my favorite genre & I do prefer when these types of stories are more lightweight like this. Maybe people were disappointed by a little less in-your-face action than usual but I can live without excessive action scenes. This wasn’t as good as Ritchie’s recent The Gentlemen but I in some ways preferred that this one was more subtle. Shockingly, Hugh Grant was great in both films – this type of role really suits him. And Aubrey Plaza is finally growing on me – Plaza & Grant were the best things about this. Jason Statham was tolerable as well (though could be easily replaced by any action dude). Also liked seeing Cary “As You Wish” Elwes and Josh Hartnett did well as a famous Tom Cruise-y movie star. The story, which I don’t ever give the tiniest shit about in these sort of action movies anyway, was decent enough for this kind of thing. Why all the hate? It’s one of the better straight-to-streaming films I’ve seen in a while.

My Rating: 6.5/10

We Have A Ghost (2023)

Directed by Christopher Landon

Based on “Ernest” by Geoff Manaugh

Starring: David Harbour, Jahi Winston, Anthony Mackie

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Finding a ghost named Ernest haunting their new home turns Kevin’s family into overnight social media sensations. But when Kevin and Ernest investigate the mystery of Ernest’s past, they become a target of the CIA.

My Opinion:

This was slightly better than I was expecting. A likeable family, a simple but enjoyable mystery, and Jennifer Coolidge (who I’d happily watch in anything). A shame it’s longer than it needs to be thanks to an unnecessary government agency plot. But I thought the ending was quite lovely. Felt a little choked up!

My Rating: 6.5/10

I can’t for the life of me find a poster for this movie…

Murder Mystery 2 (2023)

Directed by Jeremy Garelick

Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Strong, Mélanie Laurent, Jodie Turner-Smith, John Kani

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Full-time detectives Nick and Audrey are struggling to get their private eye agency off the ground. They find themselves at the center of international abduction when their friend Maharaja, is kidnapped at his own lavish wedding.

My Opinion:

This was fine – not the best Adam Sandler comedy but certainly not the worst. Sandler doesn’t have the same magic with Aniston as he does with Drew Barrymore but they still have decent chemistry & Aniston seemed to be having fun with this. Not gonna lie, I’ll completely forget this one in a year (just like I don’t remember the first film). It’s a safe, inoffensive Sandler comedy. Worth watching if you like Sandler (I do) but you’re probably not going to watch this if you’re one of his haters anyway.

My Rating: 6/10

Minions: The Rise Of Gru (2022), Black Bear (2020) & Bullet Train (2022) Reviews

Three mega short reviews today. Also pretty pointless reviews as I slept through half of two of these. 🙂

Minions: The Rise Of Gru (2022)

Directed by Kyle Balda

Starring: Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Julie Andrews, Alan Arkin, Michelle Yeoh

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In the film, an eleven-year-old Gru plans to become a supervillain with the help of his Minions, which leads to a showdown with a malevolent team, the Vicious 6.

My Opinion:

Not ashamed to admit that I like minions. Those little dudes are fun. But, man, this movie wasn’t very good. I’m a big fan of Despicable Me and think that first film has a lot of heart & is surprisingly as good as some of the Pixar & Disney stuff. But the sequels and now especially these Minions movies are missing what made the first film so great, which was Gru’s growing relationship with those three girls. Minions are still lots of goofy fun but I’m missing the heart of Despicable Me

Also, I have to admit that I fell asleep for a while in the middle of this but it’s very unlikely I’ll bother to catch up on the bits I missed. Which isn’t saying much as I always try to finish a movie I’ve started.

*Wait… My beloved Jean-Claude Van Damme was in this?! I really must stop sleeping through movies…

My Rating: 6/10

Black Bear (2020)

Directed & Written by Lawrence Michael Levine

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Gadon, Paola Lázaro, Grantham Coleman

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A filmmaker at a creative impasse seeks solace from her tumultuous past at a rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons in intense and surprising ways.

My Opinion:

This started out promising. Atmospheric with an unsettling feel that I appreciated. Liked the first half of the film far more than the second half, though, which really dragged despite a good performance from Aubrey Plaza. Not a bad film, just a “what was the point?” film. Worth watching for Plaza, who is hit or miss for me, but I’d lost interest by the end.

My Rating: 6/10

Bullet Train (2022)

Directed by David Leitch

Starring: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, Sandra Bullock

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Bullet Train stars Brad Pitt as an operative who must battle killers while riding a bullet train.

My Opinion:

I fell asleep. I don’t know why I wasn’t feeling this one as there’s certainly plenty of action & I like Brad Pitt & I thought Aaron Taylor-Johnson was good. But I had no clue WTF was going on, not that it mattered as I don’t think the “plot” was important. Think it was just trying too hard to be cool & not living up to Tarantino, John Wick, etc. I’ll attempt to finish it sometime but unlikely my rating will change.

*Wait… Michael Shannon & Sandra Bullock were in this?! I really must stop sleeping through movies…

My Rating: 6/10

Fall (2022), The Black Phone (2021), Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022) & Come True (2020) Reviews

Four quickies today! One movie I thoroughly enjoyed, one I found disappointing, one full of the most annoying & hateful twats imaginable, and one that was sadly not very good despite the poster & plot synopsis sounding intriguing.

Fall (2022)

Directed by Scott Mann

Starring: Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Mason Gooding, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Darrell Dennis

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is about two women who climb a 2,000 foot (610 m) tall radio tower and become stranded at the top. Dumb bitches! (that dumb bitches part isn’t via Wikipedia – that’s via Me)

My Opinion:

This was so dumb and so cheesy and so predictable and I enjoyed it so much more than the vast majority of films I’ve watched in the past year. It was exactly what I was expecting & wanting and you can guarantee I’ll watch the sequel just announced. I have an intense fear of heights so knew I wouldn’t be watching this in the cinema but that I’d watch it on a little screen the second it showed up on services. I do love “how the hell are they gonna get out of this crazy predicament” films. Is there a name for this genre of film?! We need more of them. I want more. Any recommendations for similar films? I’ll watch them all!

Oh. And I just wanted to add that I LOVE Converse & have had a pair in most every color but I fell on my ass on some slightly slippery cobblestones once because Converse are slippery as fuck. Are they really the shoe of choice for expert climbers?! I’m guessing not. But what do I know? Other than the fact that climbing up a tower like this is probably not a good idea, of course.

My Rating: 7.5/10 (I enjoyed this so much I was tempted to give it an 8/10 but it’s not a “good” enough film for an 8)

The Black Phone (2021)

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Based on “The Black Phone” by Joe Hill

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, James Ransone

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In the film, an abducted teenager (Thames) uses a mysterious telephone to communicate with the previous victims of his deranged captor (Hawke).

My Opinion:

Been desperate to see this as I’m a big fan of Joe Hill (and his father Stephen King, of course). Was disappointed with this film. While there were some things I really appreciated, such as the great performances from the two main child stars (Mason Thames & Madeleine McGraw – will be on the lookout for them in future projects), the film was just too slow & quite dull considering I thought it was a simple yet brilliant story. It was too obvious that it was a short story stretched into a film. Thought Ethan Hawke was effectively creepy & liked the mask.

The film just didn’t quite work and I can’t figure out exactly why as there are some great elements to it plus I always love a ‘70s or ‘80s setting. As I like the story a lot & was impressed by the performances it was certainly worth the watch. My expectations were maybe just too high as I was hoping to love this.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)

Directed by Halina Reijn

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace, Pete Davidson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game turns deadly in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong.

My Opinion:

Mixed feelings on this. Admit I expected to hate it as I’d heard that the characters were hateful (and, my god, they sure as shit are) and I can’t stand movies filled with nothing but annoying assholes. But that sometimes works for horror as we get to see the fuckers die, right?

I did hate this at first but it kind of grew on me as the death toll mounted and I did really like how it ended. Plus I like shit that glows in the dark. So I initially gave this half a point more but then changed it back after thinking about the movie a bit more. Because, I’m sorry, these assholes were just far too annoying. There’s not a chance in hell that I’d ever sit through this movie a second time. Entertaining enough for a one-off watch, though, and as I said I appreciated its ending. And I did think Maria Bakalova was pretty good. I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’m finally too old for this shit.

My Rating: 6/10

Come True (2020)

Directed by Anthony Scott Burns

Starring: Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liboiron

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film plot follows a teenage runaway who takes part in a sleep study that becomes a nightmarish descent into the depths of her mind and a frightening examination of the power of dreams.

My Opinion:

I love a good obscure sci-fi film with an interesting concept so this sounded right up my alley. Plus the poster was cool. Soon realised that the “slow burn” mentioned in so many reviews was due to nothing happening until the very end. Which can be okay sometimes if that ending is amazing but this one was a let down. Sort of felt like this would’ve been better as a short film as it had a good look & mood but not enough story. But I appreciate that films like this get made and I think this one shows some promise. Am sure it has some fans even though it didn’t really work for me.

I watch a lot of movies like this and sometimes find an absolute gem. This reminded me of a great obscure sci-fi film that did work for me that I’m always recommending & that absolutely no one I know has watched. If you like this kind of thing, check out The Frame (2014).

My Rating: 5.5/10

Barbarian (2022) Review

I wanted to end the year with two 2022 horror movies I found interesting. I reviewed Men yesterday & today is a film a lot of people raved over & I really didn’t want to be disappointed…

Barbarian (2022)

Directed & Written by Zach Cregger

Starring: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot sees a woman find out that the rental house she reserved has been accidentally double-booked with a man, while not knowing of a dark secret within the dwelling.

My Opinion:

Damn. Another big 2022 disappointment. This was an odd one. I wanted to love it as I liked the look of that cool red poster, it sounded like it would be the weird & unpredictable sort of horror I love, and Bill Skarsgård is my new favorite Skarsgård.

The film started out great. It was unsettling & I was intrigued as to what might be going on plus Georgina Campbell & Bill Skarsgård were both really good in this. I liked it a lot & was really digging its vibe. And then Justin Long’s annoying character showed up & the entire thing went completely off the rails until that absolute train wreck of an ending. 

I’m struggling with what to rate this one as I’m honestly not sure if I absolutely hated this movie or if I actually kind of liked it for indeed being slightly weird & unpredictable. I’m always complaining that too many horror movies are boring & unoriginal so I have to give this one credit for being a bit different. But it really feels like two or three movies spliced up & stuck together and I so wish the whole film had managed to live up to its start. At the very least, I’ll say I’d certainly watch another movie from Zach Cregger as I’d be interested to see what else he has to offer.

My Rating: 6/10

The Forever Purge (2021) & No Exit (2022) Reviews

Here’s a two for one! And to think I was going to spend this week reviewing Oscar nominees. Screw that – I have no time for movie award shows that have no time to spend on presenting awards to everyone involved in the filmmaking process. So here are two movies definitely not nominated for any Oscars…

The Forever Purge (2021)

Directed by Everardo Gout

Starring: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Will Patton

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a group of people who attempt to escape from the United States after an insurrectionist movement continues committing crimes and murders nationwide after the Purge’s ending.

My Opinion:

Here’s my ranking of all of The Purge films:

The Purge – 7.5/10
The Purge: Election Year – 7.5/10
The Purge: Anarchy – 7/10
The Forever Purge – 6.5/10
The First Purge – 6/10

I don’t really know what’s better of The First Purge & The Forever Purge. I just know that I barely remember The First Purge and that was quite recent so that’s pretty bad. And I think I’ll also barely remember this newest one in a few years. But I still enjoyed them & 6/10 seems a little harsh. Maybe I’ll change my mind & up them half a point (okay, I’ve just upped the rating on this one) . But the first three are far better (and had the same director, so luckily it looks like he’ll be back to directing the sixth film).

For reasons I can’t fully explain, I really like this series of movies. I always love a good concept & I think these movies have a fantastic idea that they’ve never managed to explore in-depth. You’d think we’d get something more meaningful after five films? But I think they’ve managed to evolve the story pretty well & I’m not bored with this idea and know I’ll watch film number six. In this one, a large group of people have decided that the Purge should never end & break the rules by continuing their murder spree after it finishes.


This actress was in The Hunger Games. I know that because my daughter has watched it 2 million times.

I again liked the idea for this movie just fine. If you make all crime legal for one night every year, you’re obviously going to end up with a situation like this so I think it’s a logical progression of the story. I still think they’ve left plenty of situations unexplored, though, so I’m interested to see where they go with the next film. Where they’ve focused plenty on the rich vs the poor so far and the obvious advantages that the rich would have in this situation (as they have with everything in life), this one takes on immigration. I think it worked okay but prefer when they’re a little more subtle with the social commentary. But these films have never been subtle in any way so that’s fine. I think the issue was mostly that this one really dragged in the middle & I lost interest through all of that after it had an okay start.

Well, I like these movies and I’ll keep watching them although I think they have yet to make a truly good film based on this great idea. Maybe they just take things too seriously? This time, it made me think back to The Hunt & how great I thought that was at poking fun at how fucked-up America has become. But maybe that’s just me as I’ve always loved dark humor. It’s a serious issue so maybe these films do need to stick to what they’ve been doing. Maybe they need to take it more seriously? I don’t know but I want to feel like they’ve finally done this idea justice in one of these films. Maybe film number six will be the one?!

Oh, and I’ve not watched The Purge TV series & I don’t know why since I like these movies. I think it’s because a TV series is too much of a commitment for me. Anyone watched that?

My Rating: 6.5/10

No Exit (2022)

Directed by Damien Power

Based on No Exit by Taylor Adams

Starring: Havana Rose Liu, Danny Ramirez, David Rysdahl, Dale Dickey, Mila Harris, Dennis Haysbert

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Havana Rose Liu as a recovering drug addict who discovers a kidnapping in progress while stranded at a rest stop during a blizzard.

My Opinion:

Watched this as it’s a 2022 movie release on Disney Plus & I’m still desperate to see any 2022 films that I can via services. It’s interesting that Disney is getting some new horror/thriller releases (in the U.K.). Last year, I thought The Empty Man was pretty good & The Night House was very much my type of supernatural horror (although it could have been a bit better). No Exit is the most disappointing of the new straight-to-Disney thrillers so far but, hey, it passed the time.

**Edit to add that I’ve just watched Fresh on Disney Plus & that was pretty entertaining. The best of those I’ve mentioned.**

This film pretty much all takes place at a rest stop where these people are stranded during a blizzard & the main character (above) discovers a girl locked in a van. At the rest stop, there are four other adults who become the suspects as she doesn’t know whose van it is. So there was a bit of suspense there at first, which was fine. This is one of those movies where all the characters aren’t very likeable, though, including the main girl and even the young girl who has been kidnapped! You should like the victims at least! It also got a bit too violent for me at the end. Nothing massively gross – I think I just wasn’t in the right mood. Meh. The movie was okay. I’ll forget it in a year. Oh! And Dale Dickey was in this & I always think “the prostitute from My Name Is Earl!” whenever I see her so it’s hard to take her seriously in dramas, etc.

My Rating: 6/10
*This rating is a bit generous. I guess I’m feeling nice. I was too nice to The Forever Purge too.*

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) Review

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

Directed by Michael Chaves

Story by James Wan, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
The Warrens investigate a murder that may be linked to a demonic possession.

My Opinion:

Here’s my ranking of all the Conjuring Universe films:

The Conjuring – 7.5/10
Annabelle Comes Home – 6.5/10
TIE: The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It – 6/10 & The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case – 6/10
The Nun – 5.5/10
Annabelle – 5/10
Annabelle: Creation – 4.5/10

The one I don’t really remember well for some reason is The Conjuring 2, so I’ve just put 2 & 3 together because I think they were both fine but not bad like most of the Annabelle movies (although I remember liking the most recent one, which is probably an unpopular opinion). Damn – I just looked online & The Curse Of La Llorona is part of the Conjuring Universe?? Ugh. Now I’ll have to watch that too or I’ll be annoyed at missing one but it looks crap (so it will fit right in…).

Overall, these films aren’t exactly favorites of mine. The one thing I do like is the idea they had to make movies based on the real-life cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren. It’s a good idea for a series of movies & they’ll be able to make them forever since the couple claim to have investigated over 10,000 cases. But I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about the real people or that I’ve looked much into the “true stories” behind any of the films. The only one I looked into a bit was the Annabelle stuff, which was kind of fascinating. Has there been a documentary about this couple? Probably. I’d maybe watch one but I mostly just like a bit of light horror entertainment & I’m sure these movies are very exaggerated.

I liked this film okay as it’s another one heavily featuring Ed & Lorraine and I prefer when they’re in the movie. I also like the whole satanic horror sub-genre most of the time so the story was fine. You can read about the real murder case in 1981, in which Arne Cheyenne Johnson claimed innocence due to demonic possession, HERE.


Ouch

And… I don’t know. That’s it, really. I don’t have a lot to say about this movie. It was the sort of thing I was expecting from another Conjuring film. I enjoy watching them but they’re not very memorable. They do sometimes have some good imagery or things you just know are going to be used in another film, like that ugly Marilyn Manson looking Nun or of course Annabelle, but I can’t think of anything in this one that they’d base another movie on. The Conjuring 2 was probably a bit better than this one, actually – I should rewatch that sometime. Oh, and when I added the cast list to the top of this post I was like “Why isn’t Evan Peters listed?!“. I spent the whole movie thinking he was the one possessed (the actor is Ruairi O’Connor, apparently). So I’m turning into one of those old people who mix young actors up. Pretty soon I won’t be able to name movies just like my relatives who try to talk to me about a movie they saw by saying “Oh, WHAT was the name of that movie? It stars that guy from that other movie? You know the one!“.

My Rating: 6/10


Not Evan Peters

Turning Red (2022) Review

Turning Red (2022)

Directed by Domee Shi

Starring: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen, James Hong

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A 13-year-old girl named Meilin turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.

My Opinion:

First of all, here’s my updated ranking of all the Pixar movies (other than Cars 3, which I never saw):

24. Luca
23. Cars 2
22. The Good Dinosaur
21. Onward
20. Turning Red
19. Cars
18. Incredibles 2
17. Finding Dory
16. Monsters University
15. Soul
14. Toy Story 4
13. Coco
12. Ratatouille
11. A Bug’s Life
10. Brave
9. The Incredibles
8. Up
7. Toy Story 3
6. Toy Story 2
5. Inside Out
4. Finding Nemo
3. Toy Story
2. Monsters, Inc.
1. WALL-E

At least Turning Red was slightly better than Luca, I guess?

I adore Pixar. For many years, they could do no wrong. I still can’t exactly say anything too bad since, come on – those top five films I’ve listed are amazing. Damn near masterpieces & better than most non-animated films from recent years. So they were going to have some not so great ones eventually. It’s just too bad that 3 out of the last 4 releases were duds (in my opinion). And the other one was just meh. And the two before those were okay but just sequels yet again. I guess the best most current AND original film they did was Coco, although it’s not a personal favorite. Last one I loved was Inside Out in 2015 (also a coming of age film like Turning Red but a far better example of that genre). So I’m ready for another new Pixar masterpiece to blow me away! I wonder if we’ll ever get another one like that.

Anyway. Turning Red. Hmm. I see there’s controversy online as some dude said he couldn’t relate to this movie or something like that. Or that it didn’t represent him? I don’t know. I didn’t read what he wrote so can’t comment beyond saying that I, as a female, couldn’t fully relate to it either so I hope I’m okay to say that (but that was mostly due to the awful character of the mother in this, which I’ll get to later). I’d say that this movie is much more aimed at girls so I wouldn’t expect most adult males to “relate” to it fully anyway. But they should still be able to appreciate art not aimed directly at them, especially if they’re film critics? With every movie, I like seeing different perspectives and stories and like loads of films where I don’t see myself represented on screen at all so it was kind of a stupid statement. I mean, come on – my favorite coming of age film happens to have no girls in it! And my favorite Pixar movie is about a lonely little post-apocalyptic robot. I love it despite not being a robot. Although things do feel a little post-apocalyptic these days…

I think the issue with Turning Red is that it’s just not that great. At least, it’s not up to all of our probably far too high Pixar standards. To be fair, it’s as good as anything put out by the likes of most other animation studios, such as DreamWorks. It’s not an awful film but, with that Pixar label, it unfortunately has a lot to live up to. I just feel like no one is allowed to say a movie isn’t all that great now. I’m very happy that Domee Shi got to make this film as I of course want to see more women getting equal opportunities in filmmaking. Also, I’m a very big fan of her short Bao. It probably helps that my daughter was completely obsessed with Bao for quite a while, so I’ve seen it many times. I think it’s a fantastic (and bold) short & I could really relate to the whole overprotective mother thing in it. So I was really looking forward to seeing what she’d do with a full-length film.

I think what I found most disappointing in this film was the mother, especially after finding I could relate to the mother in Bao. Believe me, I think I have many flaws as a parent but this character made me look amazing. It may have been a very long time ago but I remember my early teens like yesterday & just how easily you could end up devastatingly embarrassed by some minor thing and oh my god just want to DIE from the embarrassment. Don’t embarrass a teen girl! It’s traumatic. They’ll remember it for life. So, honestly, I don’t think any mother in her right mind would show up at her daughter’s co-ed school waving sanitary products around (sorry, small spoiler!). Good Lord – I could almost die of embarrassment just imagining that happening to me at 13. Ugh! So with that & one other incident with the mother, I found her far too over-the-top. Does anyone have a mother like that?? Maybe. Maybe I was just lucky to have a good relationship with my mom so that’s why I didn’t relate to that relationship in this film.

I feel like I’m going to end up rambling too much as I’m still trying to sort my thoughts out on this film. I think I’m wanting to talk myself into liking it more than I did. There were some things I liked. The main girl was fairly likeable. I think it’s unfortunately too easy to make girls of this age too annoying in movies, which isn’t really fair or realistic. She had a lot of emotions in this without being overly obnoxious. I also liked her group of nerdy, quirky friends. It’s always good to see a nice group of female friends in movies as I wanted that SO bad at that age (my girl friends at that age were back-stabbing bitches so I didn’t luck out in that department). Also, I liked the red panda. Who doesn’t like a red panda?? So those scenes were fun. Oh, and the animation was good. As to be expected with Pixar.

I think the point of the story was just too muddled. The girls in this family turn into red pandas when they come of age & get too emotional? Why didn’t the mother prepare her daughter for that? Oh! I just realised she’s almost as bad as Carrie White’s mother in Carrie! Well, look how THAT ended up. This movie needed some telekinetic carnage! You should prepare your daughters for the trauma of puberty. I won’t go too into the plot & how this ends but I just found it messy & didn’t fully see the point it was trying to make. To just accept what you can’t control? To be yourself? Embrace your period, maybe! Speaking of which, I suppose I should add this film to My Top Ten Period Dramas (yes, that kind of period and, yes, Carrie is number one on the list). And this is a small complaint but the obsession with the boy band was boring but, hey, I admit that I’ve never liked boy bands & can’t relate to girls who get all weird over them & their boring songs. I suppose some girls can relate to that, though. Most of all, I’ll say this: I’m old. No, this isn’t aimed at my age. But neither was Inside Out & I loved it & thought it was brilliant. My daughter, though, is the exact age of the girl in Turning Red & she really disliked the movie (maybe it’s because she hates boy bands too?!). 😉 But she adores Inside Out. And Bao. The person who liked this movie the most in our family was actually my hubby. So much for that one dude’s opinion that got trashed on Twitter! So I guess this movie just doesn’t work for some people & it has nothing to do with being “represented”. (FYI: Hubby even said this was much better than Encanto to which my daughter & I said NO WAY).

But I always say I prefer a divisive film to a boring one, so Turning Red fits that category and I do appreciate Domee Shi letting the story go pretty crazy at the end. Maybe I can talk myself into liking this but I have no desire to rewatch it again anytime soon.

My Rating: 6/10

The Unforgivable, The Last Duel & The Power Of The Dog Reviews

Squeezing out a few more reviews of 2021 releases before I post my December roundup & then will try to post my 2021 Top Ten lists. None of these are making it into my Top Ten Movies of the year…

The Unforgivable (2021)

Directed by Nora Fingscheidt

Based on Unforgiven by Sally Wainwright

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Richard Thomas, Linda Emond, Aisling Franciosi, Rob Morgan, Viola Davis

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A woman is released from prison after serving a sentence for a violent crime and re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past.

My Opinion:

I was clearly trying to squeeze in some final 2021 releases on streaming services in December or else I probably wouldn’t have bothered with this one so quickly (if at all). It was okay, though. And, yes, I enjoyed it much more than the next two I’m reviewing.

Bullock’s character has just come out of prison after serving many years for killing a cop when they came to take her much younger sister away from her. I believe it was because their parents had died and Bullock wanted to be left alone to raise her sister (massive age difference – the sister was five & Bullock looked well into her twenties in the flashbacks so I don’t know why she couldn’t raise her?!). Anyway, it took a while to get into this one & Bullock’s character was pretty unsympathetic to begin with.

With movies, I’ll sometimes rate & rank them when I’m still in the middle of watching them as I don’t want to forget to log them. This is one time where I had to move it up the list & up the rating slightly once it got to the end. I really liked the end of this one, including something I should’ve seen coming. Also, the film used a fantastic piano version of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place toward the end & I thought it set the mood perfectly. So the film was a bit slow overall & certainly wasn’t perfect but from that bit on it got much better & really did redeem itself at the end.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Last Duel (2021)

Directed by Ridley Scott

Based on The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager

Starring: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in medieval France, the film stars Damon as Jean de Carrouges, a knight who challenges his former friend, squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to a judicial duel after Jean’s wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer), accuses Jacques of raping her. The events leading up to the duel are divided into three distinct chapters, reflecting the contradictory perspectives of the three main characters.

My Opinion:

WTF? Okay… I don’t know if I’m just super picky now or if I’m just finding it hard to enjoy films lately as life has been shitty but I feel like every single newly released movie (at least one perceived to be “worthy” due to its director or stars or its agenda) gets absolutely raved over by Film Twitter & I find myself agreeing with them less & less the past couple of years.

This movie was okay? I do love a few of Ridley Scott’s films (I ranked them here recently) but this certainly wouldn’t make my top ten list of his work. Once I got past the annoying haircuts (yeah, yeah – I know that’s not important) I thought I’d start caring about the story or the characters but I can’t say that I did. I thought the men were rubbish (acting-wise as well as the characters being super hateful). Jodie Comer was fine & I obviously was on her side through the whole thing & wish she could’ve just gone on a Kill Bill bloody rampage with those pricks but obviously that couldn’t happen back then since, you know, women were treated like nothing more than another piece of property in olden times (not that we’re treated much better now). I didn’t exactly think it was some “ohmygodOscarWORTHY!!!” performance or something, though. Are my standards too high or are everyone else’s too low?! The movie was okay. Yes, once it FINALLY got to the duel it got somewhat exciting. And, yes, I always like seeing multiple versions of the same story but this isn’t exactly up there with Rashomon, is it? I was stupidly looking at the IMDb Top 250 recently & it depresses me. All the older films are being replaced by everything new & current. Are people just going to completely stop watching movies that are more than ten years old?

Okay. I’ll stop bitching now. This movie was fine but Scott has far better films. And I really wish I could just watch all of Akira Kurosawa’s films instead of wasting my time on mediocre current releases.

My Rating: 6/10

The Power Of The Dog (2021)

Directed by Jane Campion

Based on The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Genevieve Lemon, Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

My Opinion:

Another one sort of raved over on Film Twitter but this one bored the shit out of me. Sorry! Just… Ugh. I don’t know. I do appreciate some very worthy films but I also want to be entertained sometimes if possible. I’ll give it this: I think the acting was slightly better than in The Last Duel. No distracting haircuts, at least! Also……. I did really like the end! Yay! Once I actually realised what had happened and that there was a plan all along, I guess, and I was like “Ohhh… Nice one!”. The ending almost made me rank this just above The Last Duel but the rest of this film was so bloody boring that I guess I’ll keep this one below the mullet duel.

My Rating: 6/10

The Night House (2020) & Terror Train (1980) Reviews

Happy Halloween everyone!

I have two posts ready to go for later today (reviews for Society & for Halloween 1-6 which I rewatched this month). But I just recently watched these two horror movies for the first time so figured I better squeeze in quick reviews.

I’ll also say that I spent yesterday & part of today watching classic horror on the Horror Channel in the U.K. I’ve just posted My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies this week & was saying it’s terrible that I’ve not seen so many of the old classics so it’s great this has given me the chance to see some. It’s a shame it’s unlikely I’ll get around to reviewing them today but, oh well. I guess there’s no law that says I can’t review them after Halloween. Here’s what I’ve seen:

Dracula (1931) – 8/10
Frankenstein (1931) – 7.5/10
Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) – 7/10
The Wolf Man (1941) – 7/10

And I’ll be watching The Invisible Man (1933) today.

Now here are my brief thoughts on these two movies…

The Night House (2020)

Directed by David Bruckner

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin, Vondie Curtis-Hall

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Night House stars Rebecca Hall as a widow who discovers a dark secret about the house her late architect husband built.

My Opinion:

Was super excited to see a NEW film on Disney Plus! Well, Disney Star or whatever the grownup bit of Disney Plus is called – I believe America doesn’t get that?? Yay, we have something you don’t for once! And I can count it as a 2021 release as it’s the first time available in the U.K. This follows Disney also getting The Empty Man, which was quite new too. And it’s a supernatural horror where the hubby had some secret his widow now has to discover and that’s SO my type of guilty pleasure horror movie. Plus I thought the poster at the very top of this post looked pretty cool. Oh! And I thought the director’s film The Ritual was pretty good.

This movie was okay but disappointing. It’s the kind of thing I’ll forget in a year but at least the story kept me interested. I didn’t love Rebecca Hall’s character – Something about her was kind of annoying but she did well enough as a newly widowed woman who is grieving & then having weird shit happen to her. I don’t think the story was explored well enough plus we’re kind of just left hanging at the end without a satisfying resolution. Not that horror has that very often anyway! And she of course watched videos of her & the hubby from their wedding, etc, because that’s a requirement in these supernatural stories where someone has just lost their spouse. I did like a couple of creepy shots that were pretty effective in which Hall’s character saw shapes in her house, though. It was also a good setting, in a lovely secluded house on a lake. Cliché again, yes, but that’s because that’s the perfect setting for this type of story.

This was fine. It passed the time one afternoon & is the type of supernatural horror I go for but it could’ve been better.

My Rating: 6/10

Terror Train (1980)

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Starring: Ben Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hart Bochner, Sandee Currie, Timothy Webber, Derek MacKinnon, Anthony Sherwood, Joy Boushel, Vanity, D.D. Winters, Greg Swanson, Howard Busgang, Elizabeth Cholette, David Copperfield

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Three years after a prank went terribly awry, the six college students responsible are targeted by a masked killer at a New Year’s Eve party aboard a moving train.

My Opinion:

I’d never heard of this. An ’80s slasher!! I figured now was the perfect time to check it out as it’s October & I’ve also just spent the month rewatching Halloween 1-6, the first two of which obviously also star Jamie Lee Curtis (I’ve done a post reviewing all of those which I’ll post later today). I can see why Terror Train isn’t more well known but it’s not awful.

It starts out with a pretty pathetic prank being played on a fellow medical student at some party but the guy is unstable already, I guess, as it drives him off the deep end & he ends up having to be committed. Three years later, the students are having a party on a train & the bullied boy decides it’s the perfect time for revenge. Is it a Halloween party?! I guess I just assumed that as they’re all dressed up in costumes. And are parties on trains a thing? It looks like fun! Anyway – the bullied boy goes after everyone involved in the prank, including Jamie Lee Curtis who didn’t actually want to be part of the prank & I think didn’t know what they’d actually had planned for the prank so she’s had guilt over it ever since. And she has a much better hairdo than that frizzy hair she had in Halloween.

I liked this fine. It’s actually not overly “bloody” so not sure if it can be considered a slasher. Probably, but the kills are pretty mild (which is fine with me as I’m pretty wussy). And I know nothing whatsoever about filmmaking but I thought this looked quite good for a film from 1980?? It just didn’t have that low budget sort of look like many movies, especially horror movies, from that time. And David Copperfield is in it as a magician, surprisingly, that I guess they’ve hired as their entertainment. Didn’t know he’d ever done any acting? He was pretty good in this – I liked his character. I saw him live once when I was a kid! Got an autograph afterwards. Think I lost it.

This is well worth a watch for fans of ’80s slashers, especially if you like Jamie Lee Curtis. But it’s a bit slow & I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t into movies from this era as there are much better ones to check out. Oh – Vanity has a small role in this (she was so pretty). I kind of recognised some other faces, I think, but not well. One of my favorite things about watching ’80s movies I never saw is to see familiar faces. Always love that! So I enjoyed this but I can’t say it’s one I’d have watched over & over again in the ’80s like I did with things such as the Elm Street films. It was worth a one-time watch, though.

My Rating: 6/10

Four Flies On Grey Velvet (1971) & Inferno (1980) Reviews

For the last Friday before Halloween, I thought I’d re-post my reviews of the only two Dario Argento movies I watched in the past two years. Certainly not up there with Deep Red, which I watched in 2019 & kind of loved.

I’m starting to feel like I’ve already seen all the best horror movies that have been made. And as I mainly only review movies that I watch for the very first time instead of revisiting old favorites, the majority of reviews that I posted for October Horror Month this year were for pretty rubbish films! Disappointing.

And I wanted to love these two but, meh……..

***DISCLAIMER: Hopefully I’ve grabbed images from the correct movies below as I don’t remember much of either of them now. Shit – the images are kind of impressive, especially for Inferno! I think the TV channel I saw it on had a dodgy copy or something because I don’t remember it looking that pretty. Maybe I need to give these another try?***

Four Flies On Grey Velvet (4 mosche di velluto grigio) (1971)

Directed by Dario Argento

Starring: Michael Brandon, Mimsy Farmer, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Francine Racette, Bud Spencer

Music by Ennio Morricone

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film concerns Roberto Tobias (Michael Brandon), who accidentally kills a man and is then tormented by someone who witnessed the event.

My Opinion:

Was excited to see this Dario Argento film available on Amazon Prime as I’ve been wanting to explore more of the Italian giallo horror thing since finding Phenomena interesting then thinking Deep Red was pretty damn great. Was super disappointed that Four Flies was only available dubbed in English. Argh! I hate when films are dubbed. It’s distracting & definitely ruins the film but, meh – I was in lockdown so I watched it anyway.

It’s certainly nowhere near the level of Deep Red or Suspiria. As usual, there was some imagery I liked (like that doll thing up there – I love a creepy doll thing & Argento clearly does too). Shit, I dunno – I remember almost nothing about this five months later whereas I remember all of Deep Red plus its brilliant score. And, damn, I saw later that this score was done by Ennio Morricone so I wish I’d been paying more attention because I love Morricone. I’ve added the score to my playlist to properly check it out sometime.

At least the story was ALMOST coherent in Four Flies, which I can’t say for all of Argento’s stuff (especially Inferno). It also had a truly silly but fun way in which the killer got discovered so I guess I’ll give it an extra point for that. But if you’re new to Argento just watch Deep Red, which is his most accessible film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Inferno (1980)

Directed by Dario Argento

Based on Suspiria de Profundis by Thomas De Quincey

Starring: Eleonora Giorgi, Gabriele Lavia, Veronica Lazar, Leopoldo Mastelloni, Irene Miracle, Daria Nicolodi, Sacha Pitoeff, Alida Valli, Leigh McCloskey, Feodor Chaliapin, Ania Pieroni

Music by Keith Emerson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a young man’s investigation into the disappearance of his sister, who had been living in a New York City apartment building that also served as a home for a powerful, centuries-old witch.

My Opinion:

Again, I was excited to see a Dario Argento film was going to be showing on TV on Film4. I don’t have a way to record anymore so, as it was the start of lockdown & everything was shit, I was determined to stay up to watch this at its 1:30am showtime. Not worth it!! Damn.

First of all, this was ALSO dubbed. What? Why?? Let’s be honest – only proper film nerds are gonna watch foreign films in the middle of the night and film nerds want subtitles. So, again, this will have hurt my enjoyment of this one. When I mentioned that Four Flies was somewhat coherent (as far as Argento films go)? Inferno was an incoherent mess. I don’t know what the fuck was going on, but of course it didn’t help that I was exhausted & worried about viruses at that point (well, I still am now).

Anyway – I don’t think anyone watches Italian horror for a good story so I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the imagery & bright red blood & supernatural weirdness. Again, there’s some good imagery in this one but not nearly enough to make up for how weak this movie is compared to Suspiria. Here’s a bit about it from Wikipedia: A thematic sequel to Suspiria (1977), the film is the second part of Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, though it is the first in the trilogy to explore the idea of the Three Mothers. The long-delayed concluding entry, The Mother of Tears, was released in 2007. Yeah, so this is sort of a sequel to Suspiria. Too bad it sucks. But it doesn’t sound as bad as the third film! Released in 2007? I’ll skip that one. Give me good old Seventies/early Eighties horror.

At least this one is worth a try if you like Argento’s style as it’s still almost a 70’s film but with a weird ass early 80’s prog score from Keith Emerson. But at least that gives it a cheese-factor that often works for me personally. I kind of hated yet liked the score – I think I’ll add it to my playlist now & I bet it grows on me along with all the other horror scores I like to have creepily playing in the background while I work from home. Give me a Goblin score instead, though! Goblin are a huge part of the reason for Deep Red & Suspiria being the superior Argento films I’ve seen so far. Watch those. Only watch Inferno if you absolutely love Suspiria and want another witchy Argento fix but go in with very low expectations. And don’t watch it dubbed. I’m just too broke to watch films in the way I prefer.

My Rating: 6/10

Splinter (2008) & Escape Room (2019) Reviews

Splinter (2008)

Directed by Toby Wilkins

Starring: Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner, Rachel Kerbs

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Trapped in an isolated gas station by a voracious Splinter parasite that transforms its still-living victims into deadly hosts, a young couple and an escaped convict must find a way to work together to survive this primal terror.

My Opinion:

Was recommended this one (thanks, Film Miasma!). Didn’t really know anything about it but think I may have avoided it at the time as the poster looked so nasty and I’m a wuss with really gross stuff. Well, it is pretty gross to be fair. But it’s kind of borderline body horror gross in that sort of fake-looking way that I like from old Cronenberg movies so I was fine with this.

The characters are also strong, which is important to me (especially as horror movie characters are so often rubbish & hateful). We even have a baddie who ends up not being such a baddie after all & I liked that. And the girl is pretty kick ass. It’s also mostly set in one place while they’re trapped in a gas station by this weird, um, parasite thing and I’m always impressed with movies that manage to stay interesting in pretty much just one location. Thought they did a good job with this film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Escape Room (2019)

Directed by Adam Robitel

Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Jay Ellis, Yorick van Wageningen

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a group of people who are sent to navigate a series of deadly escape rooms.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this, even though it was a bit f*^king ridiculous. Especially the very end, but most horror movies like these have stupid endings. I don’t know what to say about this… It’s the usual sort of shit but at least it has a fun idea & the different escape rooms the characters find themselves in are entertaining. And I liked some of the characters, especially the two girls.

When it comes to horror, I lower my expectations a lot as most modern horror sucks. I prefer the classics from the ’70s & ’80s. There have been some good ones in recent years, though (The Babadook, It Follows, and especially the delightfully bonkers Mandy which is very much my type of thing). But the good ones are rare so I’m happy to watch these lightweight & utterly predictable ones to pass the time in between the good ones. This was a bit like the recent Countdown and both have a Final Destination vibe (though not as good as that one, of course).

Whatever. I actually quite liked this. The characters were decent & the story was entertaining. I expect nothing more from this sort of thing.

My Rating: 6/10

Ten Horror Movie Mini-Reviews

Since I mainly just do really short reviews the last couple of years in monthly posts, I have quite a few “reviews” of horror movies that are way too short to re-post alone. So here are all the mega short horror mini-reviews from the last two years. They’re in order from best to worst (the last few were dreadful). Love And Monsters isn’t exactly a horror movie, either, but it has monsters so I included it since it was more enjoyable than the rest.

Love And Monsters – This was a lot of fun but I weirdly have very little to say about it. Don’t know why. It’s a fun idea and the main character is sweet & likeable and OH MY GOD I loved the cute dog in it and there’s a fun robot and I LOVE robots (and cute dogs!) and there are funny big monsters and there’s honestly nothing to not like about this one. It also feels very original, which I can say about very few films these days. It’s a fun family film (well, not for really young kids but fine for slightly older ones). But I didn’t quite connect with it when I thought I’d really love it. I liked it. It’s good. Maybe I just need to watch it again sometime… Cool Robot above, Cute Dog at top of post! – 7/10

Run – This one was “fine”. Man I’m bored with movies that are just “okay”! But I do love a good ’90s-style thriller and do love a CRAZY MOM (Margaret White is the best!). So I did enjoy this movie despite it not being very good. Actually, I should maybe give it a slightly higher score. Meh. Maybe not. The young girl, Kiera Allen, was good but Sarah Paulson was a bit silly. I liked the story and the couple of twists at the end were fun. Okay, I’ve kind of talked myself into liking this one. Wish it was a better film overall. – 6/10

Sputnik – I was excited about this. Foreign sci-fi!! A Russian Alien!! Sadly, I was disappointed. I think it had a good idea (even though, yes, it’s very similar to Alien), the alien dude thing looked good, and the acting was decent. There’s even a mini twist at the very end. But… I dunno. It just didn’t quite work. I can’t explain why, though, as this is totally my type of thing. Maybe my expectations were just too high as one of my favorites last year was a foreign dystopian sci-fi film (The Platform). – 6/10

I See You – This was decent. Preferred how it started out to how it ended but liked the completely unpredictable turn it took. I appreciate that as the majority of horror films’ plots fail to surprise me in any way. But this is one of those movies that sort of switches genres halfway through & the mysterious horror at the start is more my type of thing. Here’s the Wikipedia plot synopsis: “It follows a suburban family beset by unexplainable events that may be linked to the recent disappearance of a young boy.” And that really tells you nothing about this movie… Worth a watch if you like a crime horror that keeps you guessing. – 6/10

The Borderlands – I love a good horror. We get so few good horror films these days. This one was… Okay. Not even close to being a great modern horror (like It Follows, Train To Busan or The Babadook). But it was a perfectly decent example of the found footage & religious horror subgenres & had a good creepy atmosphere. I also kind of liked the ending as it got a bit weird. I like some weirdness! The whole thing could have done with more of that. I have NO clue why but this one made me think of horror movie The Ritual. That was an odd one. Oh, probably just because they’re both British. Anyway, The Ritual has gone up a bit in my estimation since I first saw it. That one was better. But if you like that, you might like this. And vice versa. – 6/10

The Haunted Mansion – Finally decided to check this one out. It’s… Fine. I’m sure it’s a favorite film for some who were kids at the right sort of age when this came out. But I only saw this two months ago & am already forgetting it. Safe & fun but forgettable family film. – 6/10

Dark Places – Oh, look – it’s young Beast from X-Men! Holy shit – I barely remember this movie either. It was only three months ago! My mind has clearly been elsewhere during this pandemic. What’s sad is that I also read this book. From what I remember of the book, this was a faithful adaptation. It just wasn’t my favorite story from Gillian Flynn. Flynn also wrote Gone Girl, which was a very enjoyable book (review here). But what I liked even more was her novel Sharp Objects (sort-of review here). That book was fucked up! And the TV adaptation with Amy Adams was decent. Dark Places was okay but meh. The characters are all pretty hateful (but that’s the case with all of Flynn’s books that I’ve read). Here’s the synopsis from IMDb: “Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.” – 5.5/10

Brahms: The Boy II – Well, this was a massive disappointment after really enjoying the first film (which I reviewed HERE). The first film had a solid story (as far as horror goes) & a very ’80s vibe to it. Two things I love: ’80s movies & creepy dolls! The story in this sequel gets really dumb & kind of undoes the simplicity of the story in the first movie. Yet another pointless horror remake. – 5/10

Tales Of Halloween – Wow. This was absolutely dreadful. It’s a collection of short “Halloween” tales (obviously). I love a good horror anthology (Trick ‘ r Treat & Dead Of Night, for example). Watch those instead. Besides the very first story (I think) being a fucked-up but fun tale of a boy wanting his Halloween candy back, the rest are silly & ridiculous. A waste of time. – 3/10

Unfriended – I absolutely fucking hated this movie. I’m not gonna even bother to re-post my long rant about it here or add an image. Yuck. Hated these characters so much. – 4/10

As Above, So Below (2014) & Dark Skies (2013) Reviews

A couple of movies today that probably aren’t anyone’s favorites but I quite liked the alien abduction movie. Aliens freak me out. Don’t experiment on me!!

As Above, So Below (2014)

Directed by John Erick Dowdle

Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, François Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It is presented as found footage of a documentary crew’s experience exploring the Catacombs of Paris and was loosely based on the seven layers of Hell.

My Opinion:

This was disappointing. I have a fascination with the catacombs in Paris. I’ve been there and walking through row upon row of skulls & bones is a pretty freaky experience so I can see why it has inspired horror movies. But they have yet to make a good horror movie set there. There was a truly dreadful 2007 movie called Catacombs, starring Shannyn Sossamon & Pink, that I would never recommend to anyone. I actually bought that stupid DVD just because I’d been wanting a horror movie to be set in the catacombs. From what I remember, though, it did at least manage to be a little creepy.

As Above, So Below is certainly the better film of the two but it’s such a weird mishmash of genres that it just didn’t work for me. And it’s not creepy enough. I think a movie with this setting needs to be pure horror but this movie had a sort of Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider thing mixed in with the horror. And then some weird supernatural stuff which is something I normally love but was just too dumb in this case. And the characters were okay but extremely underdeveloped while our lead girl was a tad unlikeable (although the actress was fine). Oh, it’s also a “found footage” film, which not everyone likes (I don’t mind found footage). Oh yeah – there’s also some weird religious stuff going on & ancient artefacts & that kind of shit. I wanted to like this movie but the weird Lara Croft thing going on with the main girl was just awkward. I guess I was expecting a more straightforward horror film but I also give the movie credit for trying to do something a little different.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Dark Skies (2013)

Directed & Written by Scott Stewart

Starring: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, J. K. Simmons

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
As the Barrett family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them, one which may have arrived from beyond the stars.

My Opinion:

This was fine for a horror about aliens. We’ve not had a horror movie involving aliens experimenting on us in a while. This sub genre was a big thing at one point! I’ve always found the alien abduction movies pretty effectively creepy & thought this movie was an okay example of this type of film. Maybe I liked it as the whole alien abduction thing really scared me as a young kid. I honestly thought I’d be abducted & experimented on. Seriously. I think I watched way too much old sci-fi and original Twilight Zone episodes as a kid. I also like Keri Russell as an actress (love the film Waitress). The family were likeable (as far as horror movies go – it’s not the best genre for character development) & the story was fine & it was fairly creepy. Good enough.

My Rating: 6/10

The Witches (2020) & Hubie Halloween (2020) Reviews

A couple of kid-friendly Halloween movies for Horror Month today. Although I’m not sure how kid-friendly those hideous witches in The Witches actually are…

The Witches (2020)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Based on The Witches by Roald Dahl

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, Chris Rock

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A young boy and his grandmother have a run-in with a coven of witches and their leader.

My Opinion:

Okay, I actually thought this movie was bloody terrible but I liked the main kid (Jahzir Bruno) and Octavia Spencer so much that I’m giving this an extra point to make up for the -1,000 points I want to subtract from it for Anne Hathaway’s dreadful performance and those horrible witches that I found far too disturbing for a kids’ film. I know they’re meant to be hideous but bloody hell! And Hathaway was so over-the-top and what in god’s creation was that stupid accent?!

Honestly, the kid and his grandmother were so likeable and the beginning had great Motown music and the whole thing was going far better than I was expecting until those stupid ass witches showed up & ruined the whole film. Kind of important to get the witches right in a movie called The Witches! Disclaimer: I probably have no right to judge this anyway as I never read the Roald Dahl book NOR watched the 1990 film with Anjelica Huston that everyone seems to far prefer.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Hubie Halloween (2020)

Directed by Steven Brill

Written by Tim Herlihy & Adam Sandler

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, June Squibb, Kenan Thompson, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Buscemi, Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Karan Brar, Paris Berelc, Noah Schnapp, China Anne McClain, Michael Chiklis

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a Halloween-loving delicatessen worker who must save the town of Salem, Massachusetts, from a kidnapper.

My Opinion:

I liked this, although it’s certainly not my favorite Adam Sandler film (I did a top ten of his movies HERE so I suppose I should add this at some point). Not sure where I’d rank this – maybe around 10th place or so. But I’ve seen way more than ten of his movies so I should rank all of them – Hubie Halloween is probably somewhere in the middle.

What I liked about this movie more than anything was 1) the fact that it’s set at Halloween & I want more movies set at Halloween and 2) the inappropriate t-shirts his character’s sweet old mother wears and especially 3) Steve Buscemi. I love Buscemi.

I do like Adam Sandler, unlike some snobby people who refuse to admit to ever liking his films. However, I also fully admit that some of his movies are complete & utter shit. Where Sandler does best is when he finds people who make his movies better. Drew Barrymore & Steve Buscemi elevate the Sandler movies they’re in. Too bad Drew wasn’t in this one! Sandler has great chemistry with Drew & Buscemi has ended up being surprisingly hilarious in all of his small Sandler movie roles. Well, Buscemi was great again & the highlight of this film for me (plus it’s a much bigger role than most of his Sandler cameos). My kid was like “Steve Buscemi!” as soon as he came on screen. How many pre-teens get excited over Steve Buscemi, let alone even know who he is?? I’m a cool movie parent.

My Rating: 6/10

Villains (2019) & C.H.U.D. (1984) Reviews

I have two NEW horror reviews today!!! Likely to be the only new ones I write all month instead of just re-posting stuff I’ve already written. Well, maaaaaaybe I’ll review Halloween 1 through 6 since I just rewatched all of those (well, I watched 5 & 6 for the first time ever). Dunno. I’m not in a blogging place at the moment. Find it difficult to put any words together on anything lately. We’ll see! Now what the heck am I going to say about these two films…

Villains (2019)

Directed & Written by Dan Berk & Robert Olsen

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Blake Baumgartner, Jeffrey Donovan, Kyra Sedgwick

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After a pair of amateur criminals break into a suburban home, they stumble upon a dark secret that two sadistic homeowners will do anything to keep from getting out.

My Opinion:

I liked this one. For some reason, I’d not heard of this one at all despite it being recent & on Netflix (it’s actually a 2021 release here in the U.K.). It doesn’t have huge megastars but it still has names well known to movie fans so am not sure why I’d heard nothing about it. So thanks, Film Miasma! I first heard of this when reading your review.

I’ve liked a lot of the films Maika Monroe has done so far, especially It Follows which not everyone loves but I do. She’s admittedly been in some real rubbish but I think she stands out in those films & expected her to be a bigger star by now. I didn’t love The Guest but appreciated its style and the fact that it felt original plus, again, I liked Monroe in it.

I also really liked a film of hers called Bokeh, which I keep putting off reviewing since nothing whatsoever happens in that movie. Honestly. Which is quite an accomplishment for a movie about everyone on the planet suddenly disappearing other than Monroe & her new fiancé (or maybe it was new hubby, I dunno) while vacationing in Iceland. But I’ve always been obsessed with end-of-the-world stories so I liked it plus the movie was gorgeous and I badly want to visit Iceland now. It was a really good tourism advert for Iceland! But, see? This is why I can’t write anything lately. I’m way off topic! This is turning into a Bokeh review. (But, hey – I did like Bokeh a lot so watch it if you just want to watch a pretty young couple do nothing other than wander around & go swimming while looking at beautiful landscapes. I’d give it 6.5/10).

So, yeah, I liked Monroe in this film too. But what I liked the most was Bill Skarsgård & the relationship these two had. I’d even say that this somewhat strange sort-of-horror-thriller-almost-horror-comedy-movie had a nice romance going on with these two. They were good together & had a nice chemistry. But Skarsgård was kind of adorable. I’m not sure why. I mean, he’s Pennywise FFS. That’s creepy. And I’ve never given him much thought other than thinking he looks bizarrely like a young Steve Buscemi. So maybe it’s because I adore Buscemi but I really liked Skarsgård in this and I wanted these two to get married & live happily ever after. And I liked the thing she did with her hair to calm him down. It was cute.

So, I won’t give away the story as wanting to find out the crazy secret that the two above weirdos, played by Jeffrey Donovan & Kyra Sedgwick, were hiding was the whole reason I wanted to see this movie after reading the synopsis. I’ll just say it wasn’t as crazy as I was expecting for some reason but it’s still a decent story and these two did a good job playing normal looking middle class American psychos. Those are the worst kind of psychos, right?! And I liked it being one of these movies with slightly bad people who meet really bad people, which makes the slightly bad people the really good people. And I can see some not loving the very end but I really liked how this one ended up. Overall, it’s not a movie as over-the-top as it may sound, it’s just a bit quirky. And it has an interesting mix of genres & better characters than we get it in a lot of horror-comedy-thrillers. It’s also one where, after writing about it, I like it a little bit more.

My Rating: 7/10

C.H.U.D. (1984)

Directed by Douglas Cheek

Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, J C Quinn, Michael O’Hare, Peter Michael Goetz, Sam McMurray, Frankie R Faison, John Goodman, Jay Thomas, Hallie Foote, Graham Beckel, Jon Polito, George Martin

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot concerns a New York City police officer and a homeless shelter manager who join forces to investigate a series of disappearances, and discover that the missing people have been hunted down by humanoid monsters that live below the city.

My Opinion:

I don’t have as much to say about this movie. I’ll just start by saying, yes, I love the ’80s. I grew up in the ’80s. The majority of my favorite movies are (and always will be) those from the ’70s & ’80s. That includes some movies I know are bad. Is C.H.U.D. bad?? Okay, it’s not great. You know what? I never saw this one until now!!!

I admit I’m always happier to find an older film like this to watch for the first time than to watch some mediocre & boring modern film. Give me some ’80s nostalgia instead! And this one has lots of old familiar faces, so that was cool. I’d always known of the existence of C.H.U.D. thanks to great old videotape covers but never realised it had so many people I knew in it. Plenty of old horrors star unknowns. (This one isn’t on the level of those starring in The Sentinel from 1977, though – what a waste of a good cast that was).

If you’re old like me, you’ll know that C.H.U.D. stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. And that D.A.R.Y.L. stands for Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform. But C.H.U.D. actually stands for something else in this movie. I can’t remember the exact words & I’m too lazy to go check. Besides – it’s a big plot spoiler anyway. It’s a part of what this cheesy looking movie is actually about: How the homeless are cast aside & ignored in society. The problem of these mutant cannibals crawling out of the sewers & killing people is completely ignored while it’s at first only affecting the homeless community.

The biggest roles are played by Home Alone‘s John Heard as a photographer doing a project on the homeless people of NYC who live in the city’s underground and, interesting connection, also Home Alone‘s Daniel Stern as a man who runs a homeless shelter. They were both good, especially for this type of film, and I liked Stern’s character. There are other familiar faces but not exactly household names & most would only be known to old people like me. But worth mentioning that John Goodman & Jay Thomas have small roles as two cops. James P. Sullivan!

Well, I liked this. You probably won’t like it unless you’re a fan of ’80s horror & special effects. I mean, yeah, these mutant cannibals look cheesy as hell now. But I was surprised that the story was actually pretty good & also that it had a message about how homeless people are treated. The acting was also better than you expect from this sort of thing. All of my blog posts auto-tweet or I tweet them again for various reasons but this is the only one recently to get a couple replies on Twitter from people who like it so I guess it has its fans. Too bad I didn’t watch it in the ’80s but am glad I finally took a chance on it now.

My Rating: 6/10

Antebellum (2020) & His House (2020) Reviews

Here are a couple of 2020 horror films. Remember 2020? An entire year of horror! So don’t know if these got proper releases while we were all sat at home…

Antebellum (2020)

Directed & Written by Gerard Bush & Christopher Renz

Starring: Janelle Monáe, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Gabourey Sidibe

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a 21st century African-American woman who wakes to finds herself mysteriously in a Southern slave plantation from which she must escape.

My Opinion:

This was… Okay? I really like Janelle Monáe & she was the main reason I watched this so I wish it had been a better film for her. I think the idea for the story was good enough but the execution was pretty terrible. And Jena Malone was awful – I seem to always really dislike her acting (especially after she screwed the dead person in that stupid The Neon Demon pile of shit). I think her performance, as well as that of all the one-dimensional “baddies”, really hurt this movie.

But more than anything, I think the big twist being SUCH a huge rip-off of a well known director’s movie really didn’t help (don’t want to name the director but you’ll know exactly what movie I mean if you watch this). It just made me think of how well the other director pulled off that twist & that it was a much better film than this one. Disappointing.

My Rating: 6/10

His House (2020)

Directed by Remi Weekes

Starring: Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, Matt Smith

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of a refugee couple from South Sudan, struggling to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.

My Opinion:

This was better than I was expecting. This is the Wikipedia plot synopsis, which makes it obvious what the film is really about: “The film tells the story of a refugee couple from South Sudan, struggling to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.

But I was hoping for a decent haunted house story as well as I love a good supernatural horror. I did enjoy that, although it took quite a while to get going and wasn’t as creepy or scary as I was hoping from the Netflix image of the face peeking through the hole in the wall. But then the story takes a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting at all and I liked that a lot. Movies rarely catch me off guard so I’m surprised I didn’t see that coming but I do like when a movie surprises me.

The film could’ve been better overall but at least the ending made up for the slow start. I think most horror movies have terrible endings (why do they never know how to end?!) so it’s nice to see one that ends well.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Countdown (2019) & Mikey (1992) Reviews

Two cheesy horror movies today but I have to admit I enjoyed the one from 1992. Love psychotic children! Not sure why I didn’t see it at the time…

Countdown (2019)

Directed & Written by Justin Dec

Starring: Elizabeth Lail, Jordan Calloway, Talitha Bateman, Tichina Arnold, P.J. Byrne, Peter Facinelli, Anne Winters, Tom Segura

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a group of people who discover a mobile app that correctly tells its users when they are going to die.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this basic, utterly predictable horror film. It’s about an app that people download that tells them exactly how long they have left to live. So, of course, those who don’t have long to live according to the app die as soon as their time runs out. And, of course, a pretty young blonde medical student downloads it & finds out she has only days to live and must find a way to “cheat death”. Not gonna lie – this movie totally rips off Final Destination. But I always liked the simple setup of that film and thought it made for a really good story (and they were obviously able to use it over & over & over again).

It doesn’t work as well in Countdown & gets far too silly at the end but it’s still an enjoyable film thanks to some entertaining characters in the smaller roles. It’s not the best in the genre but I’ve seen far worse. It was exactly what I was expecting so I wasn’t disappointed.

My Rating: 6/10

Mikey (1992)

Directed by Dennis Dimster

Starring: Brian Bonsall, Josie Bissett, Ashley Laurence, John Diehl, Mimi Craven, Whitby Hertford, Lyman Ward, Lorenzo Obias

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It stars Brian Bonsall as Mikey, a young boy adopted by a family, who turns out to be a violent psychopath.

My Opinion:

Enjoyed this one much more. I’m so classy! Was this a good film? No. It was cheesy but fun & I liked seeing so many recognisable faces from that time. It’s a horror movie from 1992 that I’m not even sure was released (the rating says “Rejected” on IMDb. What does that mean??) about a young boy who is a psycho killer.

What can I say? I love movies with evil children. The Omen is a big favorite (not that this is even close to being as good as that). Cute little Brian Bonsall plays the psychopath. Ha! Remember him from Family Ties?! This is no wholesome TV show – he truly is a crazy fucker. This also starred Ashley Laurence of Hellraiser fame (actually thought she was a good character in this cheesy horror) & Lyman Ward of “Ferris Bueller’s dad” fame. And Josie Bissett of Melrose Place which I never watched. And Mimi Craven who I just read was Wes Craven’s wife at the time. So, the Craven & Hellraiser horror connections are cool.

I read that this movie is still banned to this day in the U.K. (how did I see it on Amazon Prime U.K., then?!). Sadly, I know why it was banned at that time so that’s completely understandable.

My Rating: 6/10

Crimson Peak (2015) & Dark Shadows (2012) Reviews

Two more quick re-posts of horror movie reviews for October Horror Month. Not the best films (especially the Tim Burton one) but they both have style…

Crimson Peak (2015)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The story, set in Victorian era England, follows an aspiring author who travels to a remote Gothic mansion in the English hills with her new husband and his sister. There, she must decipher the mystery behind the ghostly visions that haunt her new home.

My Opinion:

I do love a gothic horror and, while none of Guillermo del Toro’s films are personal favorites of mine, I did like The Shape Of Water & think Pan’s Labyrinth is a brilliant & visually stunning film. So I’m not sure what took me so long to check out Crimson Peak as it’s the type of thing I enjoy.

And I did definitely enjoy it despite it not being perfect. The story is fine but the atmosphere & the look are what I care about in this type of film and Crimson Peak didn’t disappoint in that department. Loved that creepy dilapidated mansion! I couldn’t find many great images to use for this post but that could be because the movie is quite dark & still images don’t do it justice.

I have to say the most disappointing thing in this film are its stars. I’ve never liked Jessica Chastain’s acting & she was as bad as always. I also find Tom Hiddleston a bit bland, although his character was okay, and I’ll never get why Mia Wasikowska became so big when she’s so boring (although this role was perfect for her, so I didn’t mind her in this). But I don’t care that much about who stars in a movie, although it’s an added bonus when it’s actors I do really like. So the stars didn’t ruin this film for me anyway.

It’s a pretty straightforward ghost story and a tad predictable but it’s still a solid “haunted house” film with some great imagery. Overall, though, it’s disappointing compared to Guillermo del Toro’s other films. But we can’t expect Pan’s Labyrinth every time.

My Rating: 7/10

Dark Shadows (2012)

Directed by Tim Burton

Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bella Heathcote

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.

My Opinion:

This was the ONLY Tim Burton-directed film I’d not seen so I finally checked it out. Ugh. I suppose I should update my Tim Burton Movie Rankings HERE but I’m too lazy at the moment. It’s probably second or third to last anyway.

What a huge disappointment, especially after it started out okay. Then it all went to shit in the final third. I did enjoy the ensemble cast, though – I do love Michelle Pfeiffer & am happy that (I think?) we’re allowed to like Johnny Depp again (Are we?! Hard to keep track these days). Alice Cooper was also in this (as Alice Cooper). So, bonus points for that since I love Cooper (even though the cameo was stupid and felt forced into the story – it worked much better in Wayne’s World!).

The story was just messy and the characters were hateful. Eva Green is sexy but her psycho slut character was just dumb. Meh. Whatever. I’ll give it an okay score since, as I said, it started out okay plus it had some style, as to be expected from Burton. And Alice Cooper is in it.

My Rating: 6/10

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021) Review

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Directed by Leigh Janiak

Based on Fear Street by R. L. Stine

Fear Street Part One: 1994

Starring: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Maya Hawke, Jordana Spiro, Jordyn DiNatale

Fear Street Part Two: 1978

Starring: Several people from the first film plus Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland, Gillian Jacobs, Chiara Aurelia

Fear Street Part Three: 1666

Starring: Pretty much everyone from the first two films (even the dead ones, which is a little silly!)

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia – this is for the first one but covers all three films which are just set in different years):
The film follows a group of teenagers in Shadyside who are terrorized by an ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued the town for centuries.

My Opinion:

Quicker to review these all together as it’s one overall story running through all three films. I can’t decide which was better: 1994 or 1978. I think maybe 1994 was the slightly better film but I enjoyed 1978 the most as I’m always a sucker for the ’70s & the ’80s and liked the (obvious) Friday The 13th vibe of being set in a summer camp. Wasn’t as crazy about 1666 and the dodgy accents they all had but I don’t usually like horrors set in that sort of time period as much. But I did like the end of that film & thought the whole story came together pretty well (although it was a bit silly), making it a better trilogy with a more coherent story than a lot of old slasher movies managed.

I’ll say this: Don’t be fooled by the R.L. Stine connection. This is NOT Goosebumps! I was surprised when I saw these were rated 18. Oh man, they are gory. They’re full-on slashers. They were a bit much for me (but I’m a wuss). I know I grew up on slashers (big fan of the Nightmare On Elm Streets) but I could always count on old gore looking super fake. Well, the Fear Street films do have that same fake kind of gore – I think I’m just more sensitive in my old age. They were fun films, though, and I appreciate them trying to do an old school slasher & doing a trilogy all at once was an ambitious risk that I think worked. The characters maybe could’ve been a little better but they were okay (I liked the nerdy little brother the most).

I started by giving the first two films a slightly higher rating. I may change my mind but I lowered them as I don’t think they’re quite as good as some other horrors of the last several years. To be fair, they can’t be compared to things like The Babadook or Midsommar as those are very different from the “slasher” horror genre. But, as I watched 1978, I couldn’t help but keep thinking of The Final Girls which is also set in a summer camp but is spoofing slashers & which I enjoyed much more. I do admittedly love horror comedies, which aren’t for everyone, but I feel the Fear Street movies may have been better with a bit of dark humor thrown in instead of being so serious. I’m fine with the first one starting out very much like Scream & the second being Friday The 13th as I know it’s an homage to those but some may instead see them as derivative. So I think “spoof” horror comedies work a little better as everyone understands exactly what those are trying to do.

Also, although I loved the music in the first two films, it was very overused. I think they wanted to prove what years they were set in so they used as many songs as possible from those eras. 1994 was interesting as I have a love/hate relationship with ’90s music (I appreciated the Radiohead). And I looooved the 1978 soundtrack. They prominently used David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World and I had that song stuck in my head for days afterward (which is good, as that song is awesome). So I personally appreciated the music (how could they afford the rights to so many songs?!) but don’t think the movies did a great job of making it seem like they were actually set in each of the years & relied too much on the cool music to tell us the era.

My complaints are minor, though, and I did enjoy this trilogy. It’s not trying to be some brilliant new horror – it’s just trying to make an entertaining old school slasher. The trilogy is flawed but fun. I do wish I liked the third film a bit more as it was kind of a letdown after the first two. But I’d watch more of these if they make more.

My Ratings:

Fear Street Part One: 1994 – 6.5/10
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 – 6.5/10
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 – 6/10

Here’s David Bowie’s brilliant The Man Who Sold The World:

Luca (2021) & Raya And The Last Dragon (2021) Reviews

Can’t believe I didn’t review these two big new Disney & Pixar releases right away. Well, I’ll be posting my June Roundup post next week but figured I better give these slightly more than just the mini-reviews in those posts. Here we go…

Raya And The Last Dragon (2021)

Directed by Don Hall & Carlos López Estrada

Starring: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Thalia Tran, Lucille Soong, Alan Tudyk

Music by James Newton Howard

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.

My Opinion:

I was weirdly looking forward to this. Well, maybe that’s not weird? Plenty of middle-aged women love Disney movies. My mom & grandma do too. We grew up with them. I thought this looked really good in the trailer & watched it as soon as it became available as part of the Disney Plus subscription. It’s good. I liked the animation and there were some strong characters & a decent story. Is it as strong as Disney’s very best films? No, but it’s far from the worst and has quite a reputation to live up to if compared to the best. It’s also sadly not nearly good as Moana, which it’s of course going to be compared to the most as that’s also quite recent & was very good. Who cares? It’s still an enjoyable film. And I loved her pet Tuk Tuk! Forget the dragons – I want my own Tuk Tuk!


So cute!

I’m sure what either does or very much doesn’t work for people watching this is Awkwafina as Sisu the dragon. She’s very “love her or hate her”. Well, luckily I like her (and her vag) just fine so I liked her as the quirky dragon. But I prefer when Disney doesn’t use very obvious voices & over-the-top comedians who can throw you out of the story a bit & make the films less “timeless”. I’m actually not crazy about Robin Williams in Aladdin for this same reason & I liked Williams as an actor & comedian a lot (RIP – I will forever be sad about that). I guess I just like my Disney films to stand the test of time but, hey, I’m old school. Or maybe just old… Oh well – I liked the Awkwafina dragon anyway. And I loved Tuk Tuk, as I said, and of course Raya is yet another great new addition to the “strong female Disney characters” thing so I was happy as they’re really the three main characters we see the most. Oh, and Raya’s dad was kinda hot.

I think this movie unfortunately loses its way in the middle of the film. It started out very strong and the ending was fine (although, come to think of it, I kind of can’t fully remember the ending now!). I feel like I say this in half my reviews lately (I’m old & I’m tired) but I did snooze a little in the middle so could do with watching this again sometime. I liked it enough that I wouldn’t mind a rewatch. I think, mainly, too many additional characters got added along the way and they weren’t that great compared to those I’ve already mentioned. In fact, one was really annoying (the dumb baby). Even my daughter was like “that baby is dumb” so I’m afraid my pickiness about movies is rubbing off on her. (Dumb baby is in the image below). There was also probably a bit too much going on story-wise for any young kids to follow with so many different regions fighting each other and so many characters to keep track of. I feel a little unfair rating this when I know I could do with rewatching it. But the middle bit & the dumb baby did make me lose interest for a while. Maybe I’ll change my mind & up the rating half a point after a rewatch.

My Rating: 7/10

Luca (2021)

Directed by Enrico Casarosa

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Saverio Raimondo, Maya Rudolph, Marco Barricelli, Jim Gaffigan

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
On the Italian Riviera, an unlikely but strong friendship grows between a human being and a sea monster disguised as a human.

My Opinion:

My beloved Pixar! I’m such a big Pixar fan. I think their best movies are among some of the very best movies overall, even compared to non-animated films. And anyone who knows me knows I love to rank movies so, if you really need to know, here’s my Pixar ranking (from my least favorite to my favorite):

23. Luca
22. Cars 2
21. The Good Dinosaur
20. Onward
19. Cars
18. Incredibles 2
17. Finding Dory
16. Monsters University
15. Soul
14. Toy Story 4
13. Coco
12. Ratatouille
11. A Bug’s Life
10. Brave
9. The Incredibles
8. Up
7. Toy Story 3
6. Toy Story 2
5. Inside Out
4. Finding Nemo
3. Toy Story
2. Monsters, Inc.
1. WALL-E

Not seen Cars 3 – Maybe I should watch that…

Okay, I honestly feel really bad about putting Luca last as I thought it was a very sweet & very wholesome film. It was actually so sweet & felt so genuine that I don’t feel right saying anything bad about it. I really did feel like the filmmakers put their hearts into making this & that comes across in the movie. The two boys & the girl they befriended were likeable and watching the movie was… Pleasant? Like, it would be impossible to think mean & nasty thoughts while watching this. It was a nice, peaceful family film.

But I was mostly just bored. And, yes, I fell asleep in the middle of this one too (I did catch up on what I missed later). I’m sorry! I apologise to the filmmakers! Your movie is very sweet and the main three characters are very nice! I complained a bit about Raya having too many characters but I think Luca is missing all the extra “small role” characters that Pixar always do soooo well. Look at how awesome each & every character is in things like Toy Story & Finding Nemo, even down to the ones with very few or even no lines (especially those turtles, dudes!). I wasn’t interested in any of the lesser characters in Luca. Okay, yes – it meant they really got to focus on the main three friends but I’m used to Pixar giving us loads of characters to love in every film. The other characters in Luca were bland other than maybe the weird uncle (I think) who lived very deep in the sea & was nice & weird. Yeah, of course I liked the weird sea monster with no social skills! That’s what this movie needed: More weirdos. It was far too wholesome. I also wasn’t crazy about the animation, which was disappointing as I did like the director’s lovely Pixar short La Luna . This just didn’t look like a Pixar film to me. I guess the style worked better as a short film.

I’ll finish this before I say anything too negative because I don’t think this movie deserves that. It’s certainly not a bad film. Not at all. It’s just not up to Pixar standards. To be fair, I was maybe a little harsh putting it below Cars 2 which I don’t even remember. But, as much as I almost hate those Cars movies, I have to admit those still did a decent job with having more than only three good characters. Sorry. I wanted to like this much more! It did have a lovely message about not hiding your true self so that was nice. (I need to stop saying “nice”)

My Rating: 6/10

Unhinged (2020) & The Woman In The Window (2021) Reviews

Two more quickies today for two films that weren’t very good. But one managed to be entertaining while the other was meh. Let’s see which was which…

Unhinged (2020)

Directed by Derrick Borte

Starring: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P. McKenzie

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It tells the story of a young woman who is terrorized by a seemingly mentally ill stranger following a road rage incident.

My Opinion:

Believe it or not, this was the entertaining “not very good” film. Not all films need to be Oscar contenders, though. It’s a psychological thriller/horror about a psycho who terrorizes a woman after she honks at him in traffic. It certainly doesn’t require any Oscar-winning actors. Yet it has one! I respect actors who go from winning Oscars in really good films like Gladiator then say “Screw it – I still want to play a psycho in a silly road rage movie!”.

Not sure if this is an Oscar-worthy performance but Crowe seemed to be enjoying playing someone completely unhinged. Acting should be fun, right?? But I was a bit distracted through all of this by the fact that I kept thinking Caren Pistorius looks SO much like Linda Cardellini. Then I kept thinking how much I loved Freaks And Geeks. Why don’t they make good shows like that anymore?! Then I read at IMDb that the kid playing the 15-year-old son of Caren Pistorius in this is actually only 14 years younger than her in real life & I thought that was hilarious. That’s so Hollywood. Can’t have a mom in a movie actually looking old! Then I also read this trivia at IMDb & it made me think how much I liked Joy Ride (with the dumb name Road Kill in the U.K.): “The candy cane scissors are a nod to the similarly themed Joy Ride (2001), in which the protagonists use the call sign of Candy Cane to anger a homicidal motorist who then terrorizes them.

Well, I was clearly a bit distracted while watching this if I was reading IMDb trivia & this certainly isn’t as good as Joy Ride but it’s a fun “popcorn movie” that’s a bit of a throwback to the kind of thrillers that they made throughout the ’90s. Sometimes we just wanna see a crazy person lose their shit in a cheesy thriller. Like Single White Female! I’ll always like that one but I know it’s awful. This movie keeps up a good pace through the whole thing so you’re never bored, Caren Pistorius and her “son” Gabriel Bateman who could actually be her brother in real life are both perfectly fine as the two main people Crowe is terrorizing, and we get a pretty fun showdown with a great line from Pistorius. That’s all we really need from this type of movie. Yeah, it could’ve been a better film but it was still a fun watch.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Woman in the Window (2021)

Directed by Joe Wright

Screenplay by Tracy Letts

Based on The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Starring: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Fred Hechinger, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julianne Moore

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows an agoraphobic woman (Amy Adams) who begins to spy on her new neighbors (Gary Oldman, Fred Hechinger, and Julianne Moore) and is witness to a crime in their apartment.

My Opinion:

This was meh. I use the word “meh” on my blog way too much. Unfortunately, it’s just the perfect word for way too many movies these days.

I read this book years ago in preparation for the film adaptation before Covid delayed it for years. I re-posted my old review of the book HERE the other day. The book was also a bit meh but I still had hopes for the movie as it’s the kind of story that can work quite well as a film if done right. Plus I like Amy Adams. Speaking of those cheesy ’90s psychological thrillers, this is another story just like those. But, whereas Single White Female was so cheesy it was fun, I think maybe The Woman In The Window took things a little too seriously? I’m not sure exactly why it didn’t work but the movie was pretty boring. At least I can say Unhinged wasn’t at all boring. And, speaking of Single White Female, I should add that Jennifer Jason Leigh is in this & she’s completely wasted (as is Julianne Moore & Gary Oldman). That’s a lot of big name actors in small roles with very little to do! I mean, my god, Wyatt Russell got more screen time than any of those big names.

I don’t have much more to say about this, to be honest, which is always the case with meh movies. I’ll just say they really glossed over all her conversations with her husband (Anthony Mackie) & their daughter in this and there was way more involving them in the book. Did people watching this movie even notice them or pick up on that story much?! We also didn’t get much of the main character’s love of movies, which I liked in the book. Oh, and not that it matters in the slightest, but the neighborhood in the movie was not at all how I pictured it. And the Amy Adams character was unfortunately a bit unlikeable (but she was that way in the book too so I guess Adams did well). Whatever. I’ve written enough. Watch this if you really want to but go into it with very low expectations. Or just watch the absolutely brilliant Rear Window instead.

My Rating: 5.5/10