Watched, Read, Reviewed: December 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! 2022. My god.

Tried in December to catch up on the shitloads of 2021 films I missed. Missed everything in the cinema & the 2021 leftovers on services that I missed didn’t look that great anyway so it’s likely I’ll never bother with those now (but I do wish I’d seen The Green Knight). So I’m calling it a year & just posting a disappointing Top Ten Movies Of The Year list later this week. At least I saw loads of fantastic pre-2021 movies this year so that will be a Top Ten list too.

*Edit to add: I watched The Green Knight last night so added a quick review below. Spoiler: I thought it SUCKED!

Here’s everything I watched in December…

MOVIES WATCHED IN DECEMBER (ranked best to worst):

Don’t Look Up – Liked this a lot & am glad I managed to finish my year on this one. Thought it was a pretty clever & scarily accurate satire of this fucked up world we’re now living in. It gave me some good laughs & it had fun performances from all the big name stars in it. I managed to quickly review it in full at the link yesterday. – 7.5/10

The Lost Daughter – Quickly reviewed this yesterday as well as I also liked this film a lot. Great end to 2021 on Netflix with these two! Olivia Colman & Jessie Buckley were both very good at portraying the difficulties of motherhood and sometimes wanting more out of life. There’s a growing sense of tension through the whole movie that I thought was handled really well. Great directorial debut from Maggie Gyllenhaal. – 7.5/10

Encanto – Already reviewed this last week. Enjoyed this one although it’s not exactly up there with Disney’s all-time best. What I liked: the main girl (Mirabel) was likeable (and I liked her dress and, as a glasses wearer, her funky glasses), the different magical powers each family member had were fun, I liked the cute little cousin who was due to get his own power & the cousin who could hear everything, and the overall message about the importance of family was good. The weakest thing? Unfortunately, that was maybe Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs plus I suppose the animation style wasn’t my favorite but it was still a lovely looking film (I prefer the older, classic Disney animation style). I still really enjoyed Encanto although it hasn’t instantly grabbed me like a lot of other Disney & Pixar films have. It would maybe grow on me after a rewatch. – 7/10

Ron’s Gone Wrong – Reviewed this as well. There’s not much I love more in movies than adorable robots. I’m always a sucker for a cute robot! WALL-E is my favorite Pixar movie & R2-D2 is my favorite Star Wars character so this movie was clearly one I was eager to see.

I liked it! It’s not a perfect film. Ron is definitely what makes this film work. The other characters are fine but none of them really stand out like Ron the robot. The grandma is fun & the main boy’s friendship with Ron was really sweet but the cute robot in a movie like this is always going to steal the show. I also really liked the message in this film & thought the film had a pretty brave bittersweet ending. – 7/10

Tokyo Godfathers – I started watching this anime film years ago but for whatever reason I never finished it so, as it’s set on Christmas Eve & as it’s recently been added to Netflix, I figured it was time to finally finish it at Christmastime. Because I’ve clearly been too lazy in all this time to just get up off my ass & play my DVD of it.

It’s a fun film with three strong characters who lovingly bicker a lot & a cute baby that they find. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo discover a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

This is one of those anime movies that can be a little goofy at times in between some heavy subject matter. It was written & directed by Satoshi Kon, whose other films include Perfect Blue (still need to see that) and Paprika (a very interesting film I should really try to rewatch sometime & actually review as it was one of my Blind Spot movies in 2019). Paprika is the better film of the two I’ve seen but Tokyo Godfathers is perhaps a little more “accessible” & certainly less strange (but I’m a big fan of strange). The characters are the best thing about the movie and I especially liked Hana, who immediately develops a motherly affection for the abandoned baby. It’s a heartwarming & at times heartbreaking film, as are all the best movies set during Christmas. Glad I finally made the time for this one. – 7/10

Pig – Had to of course see what all the fuss was about on this one so managed to pick up a really cheap DVD of it (£2.99!). Did a full review of this already so I’ll just say that Cage was good in this & the movie explored loneliness & grief in an interesting way. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting but I appreciated its subtlety. A nice break from Crazy Cage, too (although I do enjoy Crazy Cage). – 7/10

The Unforgivable – Also already reviewed. 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. It took a while to get into this one & Bullock’s character was pretty unsympathetic to begin with. However, 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. – 6.5/10

The Last Duel – Reviewed this too (wow – I managed to review more than usual!). I’ll just say I wasn’t really a fan & thought this movie was just okay. The haircuts sucked, the men were all assholes, and Ridley Scott has far better films. Just watch Rashomon instead. – 6/10

The Power Of The Dog – Another one I reviewed & was very disappointed in unlike all of Film Twitter. This one bored the shit out of me. Sorry! But 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. – 6/10

Anna And The Apocalypse – Was talking about Christmas movies on Twitter before Christmas & so many mentioned liking this one that I figured I should check it out. Sadly, this one didn’t really work for me. Luckily, I don’t think any of those Twitter people read my blog! I appreciate its concept. A zombie Christmas musical?! Fantastic! I’m a big zombie movie fan (mostly Romero) so really did think I’d like this. I can’t say I really bought into the characters, although the main girl was fine. I think maybe I was expecting more of a comedy? It’s listed as comedy but it’s certainly no Shaun Of The Dead. I can’t say I remember how any of the songs go, either. Meh. It was a good idea. – 5.5/10

Red Notice – Damn, this was a bit sucky. Thought it would be a bit more fun with these three big names plus I like them all usually. Sadly, though, this is the first time I thought that Ryan Reynolds was just too Ryan Reynolds. He’s really just playing himself in this. The comedy just fell a bit flat & there was one scene where the background of an arena they were in looked SO dodgy that I said “WTF is up with that background?!” and I’m not someone who tends to notice that sort of stuff usually. Not the worst film of the year but very forgettable. I expect to not remember a thing about it in a year. – 5.5/10

The Fan (1981) – Got excited when I saw this listed on Talking Pictures TV as I still have a massive crush on Michael Biehn thanks to The Terminator & Aliens. And, my god, such big stars in this with him! Lauren Bacall, James Garner & Maureen Stapleton. Biehn plays a psycho stalker who is obsessed with the big star played by Lauren Bacall. Honestly, though, this movie was pretty damn bad. How embarrassing, especially for Bacall! I can’t say I’d recommend this unless you have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Biehn like I do. So I got mild enjoyment out of this, at least. I do kind of like stalker movies. Play Misty For Me was a much better stalker movie if you like that kind of thing, though. – 5.5/10

Chaos Walking – Knew this wasn’t meant to be great but I read the book a couple years ago & I really like seeing the movie adaptations of the books I read. Wasn’t a fan of the book, though, so had pretty low expectations for the movie. I think it was adapted fairly well from what I remember of the story but the story isn’t the greatest even though the idea seemed like a good one. A waste of the talent in this. Here’s the IMDb synopsis if you’re curious: “Two unlikely companions embark on a perilous adventure through the badlands of an unexplored planet as they try to escape a dangerous and disorienting reality where all thoughts are seen and heard by everyone.”- 5/10

The Green Knight – I’m quickly adding this (with no image, as I don’t want a Green Knight image to be what’s displayed on my tweet as it uses the last image added). I just watched it last night thinking “Maybe it’ll be 2021 Top Ten material!” but OH MY GOD IT SUCKED! What a huge waste of time. I know I’ve said this before but I’m never listening to Film Twitter again!!! What a load of pretentious bollocks. I should’ve trusted my instincts when I thought “This is by the guy who did A Ghost Story so it may end up boring as shit just like that one”. God, I think I preferred A Ghost Story! At least that did manage to create a hell of a sense of crushing loneliness. The Green Knight did have some good imagery, which I admit I can be a sucker for, but it had nothing else. Hated it. You’ve wasted my time once again, Film Twitter! – 5/10 (Added half a point for the ridiculous talking fox & the naked lady giants)

Movies Rewatched In December:

Point Break – LOVE IT! Have loved Keanu Reeves for years & watched this movie SO many times when it came out. So had to stick this one on when it popped up on Netflix even though I’ve seen it shitloads. Keanu is so beautiful in this… Oh, and I love that this kick-ass action film was directed by a woman. – 9/10

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs – Put this Disney classic on over the Christmas break. What can I say? I love Disney films & this 1937 film easily stands the test of time as well as all the very best of Disney’s work. I wish the modern Disney films would try to be as timeless but I feel too many “of the moment” jokes get thrown in now, which will date the films years from now. Return to making timeless classics like this one! Oh, and I love the dwarfs. So cute. All the best Disney films have lovable characters like that. – 8/10

The Muppets Christmas Carol – Managed to rewatch some Christmas favorites with the family. Who doesn’t love the Muppets?! This is a fantastic adaptation of what’s probably the very best Christmas story. – 8/10

Home Alone – Another Christmas favorite, although the hubby & I like it much more than our daughter does. Our love of John Hughes maybe helps. I think this is a brilliant family film & wish they’d make more family films like this one. – 8/10

ElfElf is silly but is really good fun. Think it’s the last decent Christmas film to be made that still has a classic feel to it, probably thanks to the Rankin/Bass inspired style at the start. – 8/10

Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Far From The Tree – Assume this was the short meant to be before Encanto so we watched this before it. Nice story about a raccoon being overprotective of its young child. I could relate to that as I’m too overprotective.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

Watched a lot of TV in December, most of it good.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Cobra Kai: S4 – We all binged this in one day! We never binge anything but we were obviously all off work & school. I’ve absolutely loved all of Cobra Kai. The Karate Kid is a favorite & I think they’ve done a brilliant job of combining these ’80s characters with current teens. I can’t believe I have a crush on Johnny Lawrence the bully now! He’s the best thing about the show & I love how he’s stuck in the ’80s & doesn’t understand current teenager-speak. Yes, it’s kind of getting “same old same old” at this point but it’s still loads of fun to watch.

The Book Of Boba Fett: S1 E1 – Only one episode so far so can’t really judge it yet. The first episode was good & it’s great getting more Star Wars content but I can’t say that episode one has instantly grabbed me the way the end of the first episode of The Mandalorian did.

Yellowjackets: S1 E1-7 – Thoroughly enjoying this story about a 1996 girls soccer team whose plane crashed, resulting in them apparently having to turn to violence & possibly cannibalism to survive. It’s told in flashbacks & I of course love that the grown up actresses are my age so I’d say this is very Gen X & current teen aimed. Well, Juliet Lewis is about my age & there’s NO WAY she was in high school still in 1996 but whatever (it would be even better if the high school flashbacks were late ’80s/early ’90s). So I’m loving this but I’m the right target audience for it.

Hawkeye: S1 E3-6 – Thought this one was fun & liked the characters. WandaVision & Loki were better but I liked this one way more than that boring The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Are we gonna get another season focused just on Kate Bishop? I’d watch that.

Chucky: S1 – This was a weird one. At times I thought it was pretty damn good for a slasher TV show & at others I thought it kind of took a shit (mostly with the addition of Jennifer Tilly, although she was fun, and the real life daughter of Brad Dourif). I admit, though, that I only ever saw Child’s Play 1 through 3 so those characters mean nothing to me while fans of those last movies were maybe happy with their appearance. Anyway, this started out quite strong & I thought the bits with the teens were all good & Chucky was entertaining like always. Then it all took a nosedive at the end. Oh well. I still enjoyed the show overall.

Mare Of Easttown: S1 – I only stuck this on one night as I needed a show to stick on when I’m on my own & bored but it’s not at all the type of thing I tend to go for as I’m weirdly not a crime drama person like everyone else seems to be. I don’t know how I felt about it. I didn’t hate it but, my god, this town was full of assholes & killers & cheaters & just generally a bunch of really unlikeable people. By the end, I really liked Kate Winslet’s character even though she was also very hard to like at times but I think she was fantastic in this role. I also loved her mother, played by Jean Smart, and enjoyed the small funny moments in the show especially between these two characters. The mystery itself was okay but, god, is everyone a pervy piece of shit in this town?! I can see why people liked the show, though. The characters are strong & I’d maybe be interested in seeing them all again in a second season if that’s the plan…?

Grey’s Anatomy: S18 E4-8 – God this new season is boring. Meh.

And Just Like That…: S1 E1-5 – I’m not exactly a big Sex & The City fan but I did watch them all & thought it was clever at times and enjoyed the friendships even though I could relate to none of the four women whatsofuckingever. This version, though… Ugh. I dunno. It’s pretty desperate so far with some shitty writing. They probably should’ve just left it alone.

Looking For Alaska: S1 E1 – I read this John Green book so figured I better check out this adaptation. Faithful so far – will see how it goes but I didn’t really love the book anyway.

Maya And The Three: S1 E1 – Watched the first episode as it’s made by the Book Of Life people, which my daughter absolutely loved for about a year of her life. I wasn’t feeling it so doubt I’ll continue with it.

TV Rewatched:

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Absolute CLASSIC. Perfection. I am a massive Peanuts fan & I adore this. Watch it every Christmas.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Another true Christmas classic that I watch every year & also adore. Love that Rankin/Bass style, which they lovingly referenced in the beginning of Elf. They don’t make ’em like they used to! This is also perfection.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! – Ditto! Timeless classic! I’m of course talking about the original animated special, not that godawful Jim Carrey movie. Yuck! I’ll especially always love his poor dog Max & those fantastic lyrics to the songs. Absolutely brilliant.

Game Of Thrones: S1 E1 – Halfway through reading the first book so thought I’d rewatch episode 1. I have to say that, so far from what I remember of the show, it’s extremely faithful to the first book. Loved seeing this again while understanding a bit more & knowing the characters much better now.

Quantum Leap: S1 E1 – Wish the family would continue this with me, especially as this was a two-episode story… I loved Quantum Leap so have been looking forward to revisiting it. The first scene of episode 1 was far cheesier than I remembered, though! Wow. Thank god it got much much better.

Malcolm In The Middle: S1 E1 – Recommended this to the kid. Think she liked the first episode okay.

BOOKS READ

I’m halfway through reading A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones. So don’t expect monthly book reviews while I’m reading these as each will probably take me months to read. Although I may read different books in between each so I don’t wear myself out. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, though. It’s just a big damn commitment!!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Honestly, my main New Year’s resolution is to watch fewer movies for a while. I want to watch better films the next couple of months. Quality over quantity! It’s also exhausting doing these roundup posts with shitloads of films.

It’s stupid but the end of each year almost becomes a bit stressful as I get desperate to finish watching as many of that year’s releases that I can which are available to me. I’m more annoyed than I should be that there are several on services now that I’ve not managed to see yet, although I expect what I’ve not seen of those to be pretty shit anyway. It’s the cinema-only releases that I badly want to see as soon as possible.

I mentioned this last month but these are some of the many 2021 movies that I have yet to see:

Last Night In Soho, Malignant, West Side Story, Quiet Place II, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Licorice Pizza, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Old, The Conjuring, Coda, The Suicide Squad, The Forever Purge, The Father, In The Heights, Spencer, Another Round, Mass, I’m Your Man, Finch, Antlers, Petite Maman, Psycho Goreman, Black Bear, Censor, The Sparks Brothers, Titane, Jungle Cruise, Army Of Thieves, The Tomorrow War, Halloween Kills, Eternals, The Worst Person In The World

Upcoming 2022 Releases That I Want To See:

Across The Spider-Verse, Suzume no tojimari, The Black Phone (Joe Hill fan!), Thor, Top Gun: Maverick, Turning Red, Doctor Strange, Don’t Worry Darling, Nightmare Alley, Lightyear, Minions (Hey, I like those cheeky little dudes!).

Hope I manage to see these by the end of 2022…

Here’s Radiohead since I mentioned it in The Unforgivable.

The Lost Daughter, Don’t Look Up & Pig Reviews

Another quick trio of reviews of 2021 releases before I do my December roundup post. Liked these a lot more than the three I reviewed earlier today. Two of these are also probably going to make my 2021 Top Ten list I’ll try to post later this week. I keep moving stuff around on that list a lot… We’ll see!

Don’t Look Up (2021)

Directed by Adam McKay

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi, Himesh Patel, Melanie Lynskey, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as two astronomers attempting to warn humanity about an approaching comet that will destroy human civilization.

My Opinion:

Watched this yesterday (but I’m logging it as a 2021 watch!). Really glad I finished out the year with this one as I’ve found the 2021 releases on services to be very disappointing but I enjoyed this one a lot. Between this and The Lost Daughter, which I watched on the 31st, I’m happy to have two more movies probably making it into my 2021 Top Ten list.

Wasn’t sure what I’d think of this as I’ve not been big on any of Adam McKay’s other films but, for me, this is easily his best. I thought it would be extremely political & too far-left in that typical Hollywood way as, according to Wikipedia, “The comet is an analogy for climate change and the film is a satire of government and media indifference to the climate crisis.” There’s nothing I hate more than an overly preachy movie! But it didn’t feel preachy to me & I got some good laughs out of the comedy in this. I thought the satire was pretty clever and, although they say it’s about how how shit the governments & media are, I thought it also perfectly displayed what a bunch of fucking morons the entire human race has become. I always enjoy “humans suck” satire (also a fan of Idiocracy, although I wish that film was better). It was scary how accurate this film was on how the general population would react if told we’re all going to die when a comet hits Earth. There would be as many comet-deniers as there are Covid-deniers. I would have thought this film was exaggerating things just five years ago or so (but I also wrongly thought Idiocracy was exaggerated at the time). People being more bothered about a celebrity breakup than our impending doom is SO FUCKING ACCURATE.

I also really enjoyed all the performances in this. Movies with huge star ensembles like this don’t always work for me as I sometimes find so many big names to be distracting & can take away from the story but I thought everyone was perfectly cast in this. Leonardo DiCaprio was good, of course, but I liked that it felt like quite a different role for him. And I loved that his wife was, like, the same age as him! Also really liked Jennifer Lawrence’s character and loved how she became just another meme for media-obsessed society. Also loved her obsession with the free snacks… Meryl Streep was pretty damn hilarious as a hateful self-absorbed president & I thought Jonah Hill was funny (although I can see that one role being the most divisive). And Mark Rylance was fantastic as a typical billionaire genius/idiot. I can’t call if this movie will have any acting Oscar nominations or if it’ll be completely ignored as comedy often is by the Academy. Or if they’ll only nominate Streep as usual. I think it deserves recognition, though, and I enjoyed it far more than his Oscar-nominated The Big Short.

I’ve avoided reviews & discussion of this movie but get the impression that people are pretty divided? Not sure why as I thought it was easily one of the better films I’ve managed to see this year. Maybe the truth hurts?

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Lost Daughter (2021)

Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal

Based on The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

Starring: Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley, Paul Mescal, Dagmara Domińczyk, Jack Farthing, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Harris

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A woman’s beach vacation takes a dark turn when she begins to confront the troubles of her past.

My Opinion:

I also liked this film a lot. I’d maybe say it’s actually better than Don’t Look Up but is obviously a much more serious film & I had more “fun” watching Don’t Look Up.

The acting is great in this, especially from Olivia Colman & Jessie Buckley. I’m not an Olivia Colman fan (I’m actually enjoying The Crown far less since it changed to her from Claire Foy) but have to admit she’s very good in this. And that horrible family who came to the beach gave me the absolute creeps! Absolutely cannot stand pushy, entitled people like that and there are far too many of them in this world. Why the fuck should Olivia Colman move from her spot on the beach, huh?!? Anyway – I guess the family were very good as they were menacing as hell just in the way they would look at Colman’s character. But I never really understood their problem with her. Was it only because she wouldn’t move on the beach or did I miss something else while trying to sneakily watch this in between doing stuff with the family on one of my last days off of work?? Dakota Johnson was also good as part of that horrible family (by marriage, I think – was never quite sure how they were all related) & the one who Colman connects with as her young daughter brings up painful memories from Colman’s past. Johnson is maybe growing on me – I couldn’t understand what people saw in her at first.

I think this movie does a fantastic job of portraying the fact that, for some women, there’s much more to them than “just being a mother” and that being a mother (and wife) can be very difficult. I think movies often portray motherhood as being beautiful & perfect. I’m not saying I could personally connect with Colman’s & Buckley’s character’s experience but I think it will probably speak to a lot of women. And I thought the building tension in this was done really well. I kept feeling more & more uneasy throughout this film as I didn’t know a thing about the story & didn’t know what would happen.


Hated this bitch so much!

I think Gyllenhaal has done a great job with this movie. I can’t say whether it’s a good adaptation as I’ve not read the book but I’d now be interested in possibly reading it to know even more about the characters’ motivations. Maybe I’ll read it. I don’t often read a book after seeing the movie but I’d like to know a bit more after seeing this one. It’s a very good film.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Pig (2021)

Directed by Michael Sarnoski

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a truffle forager whose beloved truffle-finding pig is stolen.

My Opinion:

Had to of course see what all the fuss was about on this one so managed to pick up a really cheap DVD of it (£2.99!). Can’t afford this hobby anymore so I think the only movies I spent on in 2021 outside of streaming services were this & Willy’s Wonderland. You’d think I was a Nicolas Cage fan or something! I’m actually really not, although he’s grown on me in recent years thanks to his interesting film choices. Those choices are often bad & I’ve not watched those that had terrible reviews but things like Mandy & Color Out Of Space are right up my alley & this one sounded like it could be too.

It’s an interesting film & I do agree that Cage was good in it. As much as I enjoy Crazy Cage, I liked seeing him so restrained in this one. I think he and the movie portray loneliness & grief well. Was honestly expecting some John Wick type of revenge rampage so was surprised at there being very little violence in this. Although a John Wick rampage would’ve been fun too but we’ve had enough of that sort of thing from Cage so this was a nice change.

Pig is a movie I’m glad I managed to see before the end of the year but it’s not a “rewatcher” for me as I can’t see myself watching it again. But I can understand why many seemed to like it as they could probably identify with Cage’s character. I can also see why plenty of other people wouldn’t go for this movie at all & would probably call it boring as it’s very slow & far less happens than I was expecting. It’s certainly a “Film Twitter person” type of movie that I wouldn’t go around recommending to people I work with or something. You’ll love it or possibly hate it. Or just be a bit “That was okay” like me. The pig was very cute!

My Rating: 7/10

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

Ron’s Gone Wrong (2021) Review

Ron’s Gone Wrong (2021)

Directed by Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine & Octavio E. Rodriguez (co-director)

Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney, Kylie Cantrall, Ricardo Hurtado, Olivia Colman

Music by Henry Jackman

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
The story of Barney, an awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device. Ron’s malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age launch them on a journey to learn about true friendship.

My Opinion:

Was surprised to see this pop up on Disney Plus so soon after it was in cinemas but was very happy to be able to see it since there’s not much I love more in movies than adorable robots. I’m always a sucker for a cute robot! WALL-E is my favorite Pixar movie & R2-D2 is my favorite Star Wars character (well, Grogu is giving him a run for his money). So this movie was clearly one I was eager to see.

I liked it! It’s not a perfect film. It’s one of those where I don’t know where to rank it on my year end list I’ll post next week. If I’m honest, I enjoyed it more than Encanto (which I reviewed HERE yesterday) but Encanto is certainly the better film. It doesn’t have a robot in it, though! Ron is definitely what makes this film work. The other characters are fine but none of them really stand out like Ron the robot. The grandma is fun & the main boy’s friendship with Ron was really sweet but the cute robot in a movie like this is always going to steal the show. It was the same with Big Hero 6, although that’s obviously a much stronger film with better characters than this one. But Baymax was what made it so fantastic.

I also really liked the message in this film. As with most animated kids’ films, there’s of course a message (or two) but it’s done subtly & works within the movie. Mainly it’s about friendship but they touch on the evils of social media a bit too. I realise I’m typing this post on a blog, which will auto-tweet to Twitter, but I’m old so I remember the days before all this & I think most of us were much happier then. The movie isn’t at all preachy about any of this, though, which is a big pet peeve of mine. I also thought the film had a pretty brave bittersweet ending.

Oh – Ron also sang a funny song with the grandma which the daughter & I went around singing for the next week whereas I can’t currently remember any songs from Encanto even though we only just watched it a couple of nights ago. It was really cute & I wish Encanto had a similar moment as I really do want to like that one a bit more. Maybe it will grow on me but I know that Ron is already one of the better characters from all the movies I’ve seen in 2021.

My Rating: 7/10

Encanto (2021) Review

Encanto (2021)

Directed by Jared Bush & Byron Howard

Starring: Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, John Leguizamo, Mauro Castillo, Jessica Darrow, Angie Cepeda, Carolina Gaitán, Diane Guerrero, Wilmer Valderrama

Music by Germaine Franco

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A young Colombian girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.

My Opinion:

I’ve been putting together my 2021 Top Ten Movies list & it’s been an extremely disappointing year. Okay – to be fair, I’ve not yet seen all the stuff that’s only had cinema releases so far. Hooray for Disney Plus, at least! Easily the streaming service I used the most this year, especially for the Marvel series stuff (I’m not even a big Marvel fan but those were good). So I’m glad I squeezed in two more movies this past week that are making my 2021 Top Ten List (this & Ron’s Gone Wrong).

Enjoyed this one although, in all honesty, it’s not exactly up there with Disney’s all-time best. I don’t know if it’s partly hurt by seeing these Disney films at home now & making them feel like the “straight-to-video” stuff from my younger years. I don’t think so, though – plenty of my all-time favorites are ones I never saw in the cinema. And I didn’t mean to imply that Encanto felt “straight-to-video” as it’s much better than that. So ignore my rambling! Maybe it’s what my hubby moaned about after seeing it (the 3D animation or whatever). I do definitely prefer the more timeless classic animation of older Disney movies. Okay, yeah, maybe it’s that! Just trying to figure out why a lot of Disney movies from recent years aren’t fully connecting with me. Oh well – they’re still much better than that dodgy late ’90s/early 2000s New Groove Hercules Hunchback era.

Should I shut up & talk about Encanto?! What I liked: the main girl (Mirabel) was likeable (and I liked her dress and, as a glasses wearer, her funky glasses), the different magical powers each family member had were fun, I liked the cute little cousin who was due to get his own power & the cousin who could hear everything, and the overall message about the importance of family was good. The weakest thing? Unfortunately, that was maybe Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs. A couple of them were “fun” but not very memorable & certainly none that would end up all-time classics unlike his brilliant How Far I’ll Go from Moana. And, okay, I suppose the animation style wasn’t my favorite but it was still a lovely looking film. Also, I think the message was a bit muddled. Be supportive of family? Be true to yourself? You don’t have to be perfect? Which are all good things so not really an issue – I just wasn’t sure what the main point was.

I really enjoyed this but it’s one where I can’t currently tell if it’ll go up or down in my estimation. Moana grew on me a lot & I’ve happily seen it several times now as it’s a favorite of my daughter’s. Soul is one I thought looked lovely but I’ve never once thought about sticking it on for a rewatch. And I know I have zero interest in rewatching Luca. I think rewatchability is important with Disney & Pixar and I don’t know yet if Encanto is a multiple-watcher. I’d say it is more so than a couple I’ve mentioned. I’m also still trying to decide if I’d rank it just above or below Raya And The Last Dragon. I think Raya is more “me” and I preferred it feeling like a more traditional (sort of Princess) Disney movie plus I preferred its style & loved Tuk Tuk. But I think Encanto was maybe the slightly better film. Dunno. They’re close. I’ll have to decide before I post my Top Ten next week!

What a wishy-washy review. I think my point is this: I really enjoyed Encanto although it hasn’t instantly grabbed me like a lot of other Disney & Pixar films have but maybe it would grow on me after a rewatch.

My Rating: 7/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: November 2021

Bit late with this roundup. Busy month right now! Let’s see what I watched & read back in November…

MOVIES WATCHED IN NOVEMBER (ranked best to worst):

Trees Lounge – Really liked this Steve Buscemi movie (which is on Pluto TV in the U.K., FYI). Confession: I have sort of a weird crush on Steve Buscemi. It was great seeing a younger Buscemi as the lead character in this 1996 film (which he also wrote & directed). I already reviewed it in full so I’ll just say it’s an indie movie very focused on the characters so you either like that sort of thing or you don’t. It’s also very “New York”, where it’s set, and I enjoyed the setting & these quirky aimless characters. Some big names in this too. Check out this cast (from Wikipedia): Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Mark Boone Junior, Anthony LaPaglia, Elizabeth Bracco, Eszter Balint, Carol Kane, Daniel Baldwin, Mimi Rogers, Debi Mazar, Seymour Cassel, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Buscemi. 7.5/10

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire – Also reviewed this one already. Was very happy to see this on BBC iPlayer as everyone absolutely raved about it when it came out. It’s a good film. I’m not, like, “OhmygodthisisthebestmovieEVER!!!!!” but the characters are strong & I was interested in what would happen with their relationship and they had really good chemistry together. And I preferred watching women on an island not being psychotic assholes, unlike those idiots in The Lighthouse. Glad I finally managed to see this one. – 7.5/10

tick, tick… BOOM! – I’ll be honest – I read about this movie and wasn’t going to bother even watching it as it’s just really not my sort of thing. I do like “theatre” but have seen very little of it. Well, I ended up really enjoying this one. Not in a “rewatch” sort of way as I can’t see needing to watch it more than once. But Jonathan Larson had a very interesting life & I liked his passion for the theatre and thought the movie very cleverly told his story through two lesser known musicals that he wrote before Rent. And as the film was directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, I’m sure he captured the theatre lifestyle so assume that theatre fans really like the film. Well, I ended up writing so much about this one that I posted a full review at the link. Glad I checked this one out. – 7.5/10

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – Reviewed this too & am so bored with reviewing MCU movies but was pleasantly surprised by this one. I liked that it felt a little different from other Marvel films as I sometimes feel like I’m watching the same movie over & over with those. This certainly wasn’t perfect but I enjoyed it & its look & especially its older characters. I’ve ranked it somewhere in the middle of all the MCU movies so far. – 7/10

Across The Tracks – Oh my god – How did I not know there was a movie in 1990 starring Ricky Schroder & Brad Pitt as brothers?!? Okay, I’m of the age where I grew up on Schroder in Silver Spoons then later had the hots for Pitt in Thelma & Louise. Wow – hard to believe these two movies are only a year apart (Thelma & Louise is obviously a far better film. Love it).

Not gonna lie, this very much felt like a TV movie but I’m assuming it wasn’t as there was swearing in it. Swearing & sex are big no-nos on American television – America promotes only violence! It felt like a “good” TV movie, though. The acting was perfectly acceptable for this sort of thing in 1990. Why is this review sounding negative?! I enjoyed this but I don’t know if it’s a case of liking it because it’s one I missed as a teen & it stars two actors I liked then. Probably! But I’m always super happy to find something from the ’80s & very early ’90s that I missed out on as it feels like I watched everything I could at that time. Last one like that was when I watched Thrashin’ in August, which I’ve grown to like even more and honestly don’t know how the heck I missed out on that one. That was pure ’80s goodness! Across The Tracks is a decent enough story even though it does come across a bit “After School Special” (remember those, fellow Gen Xers???). It was exactly the sort of thing I was expecting but, hey, that’s fine. I got to see Ricky Schroder & Brad Pitt as brothers!

Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Joe Maloney (Brad Pitt) is a straight A student vying for an athletic scholarship to Stanford. He lives with his mother (Carrie Snodgress) in a trailer park in Gardena, CA. His well laid plans for the future are thrown into turmoil when his troubled younger brother Billy (Rick Schroder) is released from Juvenile Detention following his arrest for stealing a car and comes to live with them back home.”6.5/10

Oxygen – Been wanting to watch this as I love sci-fi & really like Mélanie Laurent plus I liked the concept of a person being trapped in a “cryogenic unit” with their oxygen running out. I’m also always intrigued to see if they can make a film interesting when it’s set in just one location, especially a location as small as in this one, and I think they definitely managed to do that. Other than that, I can’t say too much more as it would spoil the whole plot (although anyone interested has probably seen this by now). I have to say that I mostly find Netflix movies very disappointing but I’ve really enjoyed some of the sci-fi stuff, like this & I Am Mother. I like a good story idea, especially in this genre, and I think this somewhat simple idea worked really well. But I also think you’d have to be a sci-fi fan to really enjoy this one as it’s not exactly mainstream cinema release material. – 6.5/10

The Guilty – I liked this, considering I’m not a crime drama person. But after watching it I noticed a movie with the same name somewhere & a very similar poster and… Damn! I watched an American remake of a foreign film that was probably better! I’d have watched that instead. Well, I thought this one had a pretty good story (with a twist) so I enjoyed it anyway despite not being big on Gyllenhaal the scarf stealer (apparently – I’m not up on Taylor Swift’s old love life or whatever that was all about on Twitter). Like Oxygen, this movie also did a good job of being set in one place (did it ever show outside of the emergency call centre? Can’t remember now but don’t think so). It’s about a cop who’s in trouble for something (we don’t know what) and he’s been made to take 911 emergency calls while awaiting his trial for that something. He tries to help a woman who calls & has apparently been kidnapped. I really liked that story that was fully played out over the phone. I’d recommend this but am wondering what the original is like now… – 6.5/10

Revenge (2017) – Caught this ultra-violent revenge horror flick on the Horror Channel. It’s one of those that Film Twitter went on about at the time so I’d been wanting to see it. It’s a decent enough revenge movie if you like that sort of thing (I do for the most part). Far too violent for my liking but I did enjoy watching this woman go on a rampage after her lover’s friend rapes her & then the three men all try to shut her up so she doesn’t tell anyone. She also had great earrings that looked really cool in all the images of the movie so it’s one of those where the movie poster helped sell the film. Oh, and I wanted to see how a female director would handle the awkward “rape revenge” subgenre that is usually nasty & exploitative. She handled it with lots & lots of blood! The rape scene itself was, I guess, filmed in a more respectful manner and didn’t linger on FOREVER like in nasty I Spit On Your Grave type shit so that was good but I can’t say this is a topic I ever like to watch. I just wanted the movie to get on with the revenge and it sure as shit did and I liked how over-the-top the ending was. Well, I can say I’ve watched this now but would have no need to ever watch it again. It’s certainly one for those who love violent horror. – 6.5/10

The Falling – I think I watched this in October but completely forgot to include it in that post. Ugh! I hate when that happens! I slipped on my obsessive list-making that month! Um, not sure how I felt about this strange little film. I liked it for the most part, especially at the start. Being set in an all girls school & having a slightly mysterious plot (a bunch of the girls at the school start fainting but no cause can be found) gave it a tiny bit of a Picnic At Hanging Rock vibe at first (although it’s not nearly as good as that eerie piece of filmmaking). I watched this as I found the mysterious fainting plot intriguing, which was also what another strange 2015 indie film called The Fits was about. I just reread my review of The Fits & see I compared that one to Picnic At Hanging Rock too – I think I’d like to watch Picnic again.

After watching Black Widow, I also wanted to see Florence Pugh in an early role as I’m still trying to figure out why so many movie fans her sort of age are so obsessed with her. Well, I have to admit she’s the best thing about this movie & really does shine here with that extra sort of quality that only some actors seem to have. I wouldn’t say I’ve felt that way about her in other things, although I did really like her in some roles such as in the surprisingly great Fighting With My Family. It was fun watching Maisie Williams in the lead role but, especially as I’ve just started reading A Game Of Thrones like some kind of crazy fucking maniac thinking I have time for that, I only EVER see her as Arya Stark in absolutely everything she’s in. Not really her fault, though, as I think it’s hard to fully break away from a really huge TV character on a massively popular show. She’s good in this as the best friend of Pugh & the one who starts off the fainting thing at the school after tragedy strikes.

Well, it was all going good until the, um…. Incident toward the end of the movie. WTF?! Trying to stay spoiler free here but EW! I’m starting to worry about how many movies, especially the “worthy drama” and often English films, throw that into the plot. Okay – I think this movie is about coming of age and how that’s such a scary & uncertain time for everyone. It explored that pretty well at the start. And this being an English movie there’s some typical English sexual repression in it and young women starting to explore their sexuality. But don’t explore it in THAT way, Arya Stark! This isn’t Game Of Thrones!

Well. Whatever. This movie was actually pretty decent up until that part so I’m still giving it an okay rating. But I’ve removed half a point for that bit of ickiness. – 6/10

Passing – This was fine. It’s one of those I hate reviewing as I don’t have much to say about it. I can talk for ages about movies I love or especially about ones I absolutely hate! But the MEH ones are difficult. The best thing about it was the performances & Ruth Negga and especially Tessa Thompson were both very good. But for a truly interesting plot, it somehow managed to be quite boring. Up until the sort of shocking ending, that is, which I thought was really well done. Or maybe I was just glad that something finally happened in this movie. There was so much they could have explored with this idea but didn’t & it ended up being more about two jealous women. But maybe the whole point of it was to be very understated? I don’t know – it’s certainly not a bad film and I was intrigued by the plot synopsis. I wonder if the book it’s based on goes deeper into the issues that don’t get explored in this fairly short film. – 6/10

Ammonite – This was a bland one too. More bland than Passing! Other than the kinky sex. Kate Winslet & Saoirse Ronan spend the movie moping around a typically cold-looking, grey, windy & depressing English seaside then eventually have a couple of raunchy sex scenes together. Winslet’s character is especially grumpy & unlikeable. Okay, I get it. I’ve lived in England for 20 years now & the weather has turned me into a grumpy old hag too. But cheer the fuck up, Winslet’s character! (Yeah, I’m too lazy to look up character names). I think the problem here is that these two characters had no chemistry whatsoever. Were they meant to be in love or something?? Didn’t seem like it. They just seemed horny. Just watch Portrait Of A Lady On Fire instead if you want a female love story with more likeable characters. I should probably give this a lower rating based on my negativity but it’s a Kate Winslet movie so I suppose it’s worthy & shit. – 6/10

Where The Truth Lies – Meh! I had a pretty shitty month for movies for the most part. I desperately need access to the weird & obscure sort of movies I actually want to watch so I stop wasting my time on whatever shit is available on boring streaming services (this was, I think, on Roku if you’re interested in lots of sex & a murder).

Okay, this wasn’t awful so I’m taking my anger out on the wrong movie. It’s just one I’ll forget in a year. I watched it as I loved a movie called White Oleander starring Alison Lohman & I’ve tried to watch her in other films since because of that. She’s an odd one… She’s decent in some movies but not so much in the slightly bad movies. I wouldn’t exactly say this is a bad movie (just a little trashy while trying too hard to be sexy) but she feels very miscast. I think it doesn’t help that she’s someone who always looks & seems much younger than she actually is, which worked perfectly for her role in Matchstick Men. But as this is a steamy sex murder mystery, it felt creepy here when she got it on with the older Kevin Bacon and when Colin Firth watched her get it on with a girl. Although a 20 year age difference is standard in Hollywood (with the woman being the young one, of course!). I still enjoyed seeing her in another movie, though, and am glad she didn’t get dragged to Hell at the end of this.

If you like old-school trashy-sex murder mysteries, which is what this was going for, you might like this. But it’s not the sexy noir thing I think it wants to be. The murder mystery itself was decent, though, and I liked the resolution okay and finding out more about the victim. I’ve talked myself into liking this trashy movie a little bit! It’s not great, though. – 6/10

Vivo – This started out so good then kind of turned to shit. What a shame. I really liked the start with the old guy and the cute monkey and the sweet love story & wanted to see this nice old man deliver his love song to the woman he’d secretly loved for years. Nice little heartwarming story.

Then the annoying young girl showed up. Even my preteen went “this is gonna turn bad now, isn’t it“. Then the annoying girl sang the most annoying “trying to be cool & modern” song (although kind of catchy since that stupid “dance to the beat of my own DRUM!” song got stuck in my damn head) & the kid went “yep, it’s turned bad“. And the girl was annoying but the other young girls in it were even more annoying & I just really hate annoying brats in movies. I wanted to see more of the love story I thought we’d get at the beginning.

Oh, and the monkey was cute but he also talked and I think only we the audience could understand him while the humans in the movie heard monkey noises. But then he said certain things & the humans replied and I was like “But you can’t f*^king understand him!” but, who knows, maybe I’m wrong but it felt like they weren’t following the proper animated talking-monkey rules! And, shit, it wasn’t actually a monkey because I’ve just looked up what they kept calling him (which sounded like Pikachu) but it’s actually a kinkajou which you can read about HERE at Wikipedia and holy shit why am I researching this?! Aww. They’re cute! Well, I liked the cute not-monkey thing but I liked him more when he was making squeaky animal noises than when he was talking & singing with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s voice. And then they ended the movie with that annoying song again! “Dance to the beat of my own DRUM!” Argh! It’s in my head again!! – 5.5/10

Chained For Life – Um. I watched this movie on Film 4 because it looked weird & I like weird. And it was. So… Result, I guess! I also quite liked the movie Teeth that this actress, Jess Weixler, was also in. If you don’t know, that movie was about a girl with teeth in her vagina. Just so you have an idea of the sort of movies she likes to be in, I guess.

I don’t have a clue what to say about this movie. It’s not a bad movie & I liked again seeing something truly different but I’m not sure what point the movie was trying to make (if there was one). I thought it would be about beauty standards or something but then the story got very confusing & I didn’t know what the heck was actually going on for a while (I think that part was a dream or fantasy). But I appreciate the effort the filmmakers put into the truly strange films such as this one. Was hoping this would be more enjoyable, though. When it comes to the truly weird stuff that I’ve watched this year, Butt Boy & Rent-A-Pal were both more entertaining. – 5.5/10

Movies Rewatched In November:

Con Air – Had the sudden urge to rewatch this one when it got added to Disney Plus. I’d watched it a good few times just after it came out in 1997 but not seen it since. Man, this movie is still completely & utterly ridiculous and still ridiculously fun. Remember when dumb action movies were fun?!?! Why do we get so few of these dumbass action flicks that are actually entertaining nowadays?? We mostly get just plain dumb ones now. So, yeah, I really enjoyed rewatching the Nicolas Cage movie named after an American hairdryer more than watching most of the much more “worthy” stuff I’ve watched recently. Cage plays it really straight for a change while everyone else is a crazy bastard instead, including my beloved Steve Buscemi. Buscemi is, obviously, my favorite character in this and you gotta love how they went “let’s make the audience like the psycho serial killer!” and it actually worked & we all went “Yay, Buscemi!” at the end which is really kind of fucked up. Stupid film. I kind of love it. – 7.5/10

Documentaries, Shorts & Miscellaneous In November:

The Beatles: Get Back – Enjoyed this admittedly very long documentary but, hey, you gotta treat it like a mini-series. I do find it funny when people complain about the length of some movies but then will binge three entire seasons of some TV show in one weekend. With this, though, I’d say you absolutely must be a pretty big fan of The Beatles to watch it. If you aren’t, I’d most definitely not recommend it. It’s not for casual movie-watchers – it’s for hardcore Beatles fans. And I don’t think it’s one you need to see from a filmmaking side of things, although I’m sure what Peter Jackson has done is impressive as he had way more footage than just the almost 8 hours that we saw in this. This is one to watch to get to know a little more about the personalities of four of the most famous musicians of all time & see how they went about creating their amazing music.

I don’t talk about music that often on this blog as I try to focus on movies but music is a huge love of mine too. So you’d think I’d love a music documentary but I’ve watched very few. As much as I love movies, I really have to force myself to watch documentaries. I’ve just never been obsessed with my favorite musicians (as people, I mean). I’ll listen to their music over & over & over to the point where the hubby yells at me for listening to all the same stuff but I’ll rarely read about my favorite bands or watch a documentary about them (but I’ll watch some cheesy Hollywood movie about them instead). Same with actors, really – I just want to enjoy the art they create. I guess the point of my rambling is to say this: I’d say I’m a pretty big Beatles fan and they’d easily be one of my top five favorite bands (I did a Top Ten of their songs HERE) but I know next to nothing about them as people. This is even after two trips to Liverpool to do the whole Beatles tour experience there. I kind of don’t like knowing too much about famous people as I don’t want that to get in the way of me enjoying their art.

So that’s the type of person who sat down to watch The Beatles creating music for eight hours. It was an interesting insight into their music making process but, weirdly, I didn’t come away from it feeling like I knew these four musicians much more than I did beforehand anyway. John was more fun & silly than I was expecting (but maybe that’s just how he was at that point in his life). Paul was the one to really take charge, which I kind of expected, but they still all seemed to get along well even though you could tell things were a little strained. Hell, George even quit the band toward the start of this but even that was all with the least amount of drama EVER. I’m sure they had plenty of drama behind the scenes but they don’t come across like the big whiny divas so many famous people are nowadays. And it seems everyone came away from this liking Ringo even more, which is cool as he gets the least love I think. He’s by far the most laid back & easygoing one in this documentary. And, okay, I’m sure there was drama with Yoko that we didn’t see but we certainly didn’t see it in this 8 hour documentary either and she was in it constantly. She just sat there quietly making no fuss. As I say, though, I know next to nothing about The Beatles so I’m sure there was plenty of drama & backstabbing but I’d rather just not know about that & just sing along badly to Eleanor Rigby in the shower without thinking “They were kind of mean to George, dammit, and why did people hate Yoko”? It was still fascinating to watch them in this, though, and I’m sure the mega hardcore Beatles fans absolutely loved this. And it was funny seeing some of the people complaining about the music being played on the rooftop. Imagine complaining at being able to attend a free Beatles concert! – 8/10

The Princess Bride: Home Movie – Hadn’t watched this during lockdown as hadn’t really looked into what it actually was & was thinking “What are these idiot celebs doing to my beloved Princess Bride?!”. But all they did was recreate it scene by scene alone in their homes during lockdown with whatever silly supplies they had available & it was really very sweet & quite fun! Didn’t know several of the, I assume American TV?, stars but there were also some very big names. The highlights for me were Adam Sandler, Jack Black & the always adorable Paul Rudd. Was also fun seeing a few celebs performing together if they live in the same household, such as Sam Rockwell & Leslie Bibb, and some who had their kids join in. Oh! And a couple Princess Bride stars as well. And a very bittersweet moment with Rob & Carl Reiner. That was lovely. Glad we finally checked this one out as a family.

Olaf Presents: Not gonna lie – I was happy when I found out they’d be making some shorts with Olaf “explaining” the plot of some Disney movies as that was possibly the best bit of Frozen 2. I don’t even love Olaf all that much as he can be a little annoying at times but that bit was really funny & these shorts are a lot of fun. Like, they made me smile & giggle a lot. I’m a small child sometimes. The Little Mermaid, The Lion King & Tangled were the best ones. I want him to do them all!

Ciao Alberto – This short from Pixar’s worst movie was fine. But I’ve already pretty much forgotten it…

The Simpsons in Plusaversary – A bit cheesy – This was just an advertisement for Disney Plus showing the Simpsons with a bunch of Disney characters. Happy to (I think) see Bao included, though. I like that short.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN NOVEMBER

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Hawkeye: S1 E1-2 – Really enjoying this one, which is cool since Hawkeye is the most boring Avenger. Been looking forward to it as the daughter was already a Kate Bishop fan & had read comics with her in them. Hailee Steinfeld is really good as Bishop & the relationship with Hawkeye is fun & her one-eyed pizza dog is adorable. It’s making Hawkeye a far more interesting character as well as we’re obviously getting much more focus on him than in the films. Will see how I feel at the end but WandaVision is still my favorite. I also think Loki was better than Hawkeye but think I’m sort of enjoying Hawkeye more than Loki. The Falcon And The Winter Soldier will remain dead last as I found it so damn boring that I didn’t even bother finishing the series. Hawkeye is far more entertaining.

Alice In Borderland: S1 E6-8 – Damn, this show really took a shit at the end. Watched it after absolutely loving Squid Game but, FYI if you’ve watched neither, Squid Game is the one you should check out. Alice started out pretty good with these three twentysomething friends suddenly finding themselves alone in their big Japanese city & then being made to play dangerous deadly games with the small number of other people apparently still left in existence.

The first few episodes or so focused on the games, which were pretty good so I was enjoying the show at first. But they did a terrible job with character development so I wasn’t exactly feeling attached to anyone as they got killed off, unlike in Squid Game which broke all our hearts. Then the final episodes ended up being set with a new group of people and some big “baddies” & that’s when it turned to shit. Not that there’s anything wrong with young people but the show became completely aimed at younger people while all the players apparently became twentysomethings wanting to just party in their swimsuits in between being made to play the games. I swear there were some older players at first?

And then they’d give you a small backstory on some random character you’d then know might possibly die & I didn’t see the point of focusing on characters no one gives a shit about. The show also doesn’t give a satisfying conclusion as they obviously just wanted to continue onto a new season, unlike Squid Game which managed to be a fantastic standalone season while still keeping things open for a new season. It was just really frustrating as the show started out promising. I’ll probably still watch season two in the hopes that it’ll explain WTF is going on but I’m giving up if they try to make us suffer through a third season.

Grey’s Anatomy: S18 E1-3 – What can I say? Grey’s Anatomy is still being totally Grey’s Anatomy 18 seasons later. At least I think the show is becoming a little less “dramatic”. It’s about time these people mellow out – they’re old now! But it also means it’s getting a bit too boring.

BOOKS READ

The Eyes Of Darkness by Dean Koontz – Ah, my beloved Dean Koontz. I grab a Koontz book whenever I need a quick & easy read from my favorite genre: supernatural horror. That sounds rude… He really is Stephen King-lite, though. And I found this for, like, 50 pence at a charity shop & it’s one I somehow miraculously never read!!! (I’ve read many, which I attempted to fully rank HERE).

Here’s the weird thing with this one & it’s spoiler-y: It’s been brought up recently because people went “Oh my god, Koontz predicted Covid in this!“. So I read this 1981 book about a man-made virus & was thinking “That’s pushing it a bit“. Okay, mystery solved – I was thoroughly confused as Wuhan was not mentioned in my edition. From Wikipedia:

The novel mentions a bioweapon that in earlier editions is named Gorki-400 after the Soviet city of Gorki in which it was created. Due to the end of the Cold War, the origin of the bioweapon was changed to the Chinese city of Wuhan and it was renamed Wuhan-400 for the 1989 edition onward, prompting speculation from some in early 2020 that Koontz had somehow predicted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Anyway, sorry for the spoiler as you have no idea what is going on at first. It starts with a woman whose only son died in an accident about a year ago but then she starts having strange supernatural things happen that she begins to realise are messages from her supposedly dead son. That’s totally my type of thing but the story started out stronger than it ended up. The ending also felt very rushed. I still enjoyed it, though, as I do most Koontz books. It will just be one of those that I probably won’t remember years from now and I’ll think “Did I read that one?“, which seems to happen with a lot of his novels. – 2.5/5

I’m currently reading A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One – A Game of Thrones because I’m clearly fucking insane. As if I have enough time in my life to be delving into these tomes…! Well, don’t expect a review anytime soon as I am sure each book will take me a good few months minimum to read.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Thanks to not going to the cinemas because of the pandemic but also being totally broke, I’ve missed out on LOADS of 2021 movies. 😦 So my plan is to watch as much 2021 stuff as I can get hold of very cheaply or via my services & just post my 2021 Top Ten lists a little late this year (hopefully by mid-January). Several are on services I have but those are the films I have the least interest in seeing (I’ve not listed those). Below is the list I made of what I’ve missed as I obviously want to catch them as soon as I can…

2021 Movies I Want To See:

These are the UK 2021 releases that I missed (or will miss) that I’m the most desperate to see (ranked in order of how much I want to see them because you know I love to rank things):

1. The Amusement Park (want to see this SO bad)
2. Pig (DVD was really cheap so just bought this!)
3. Last Night In Soho
4. Malignant
5. West Side Story
6. A Quiet Place Part II
7. Spider-Man: No Way Home
8. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
9. Encanto
10. The Matrix Resurrections
11. Old
12. The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It

Well, I want to see the above the most but really want to see all of these as well (still ranked in order, because I’m pathetic):

Coda, The Suicide Squad, The Forever Purge, The Father, In The Heights, Spencer, Another Round, Mass, I’m Your Man, Finch, Antlers, Ron’s Gone Wrong, Petite Maman, Psycho Goreman, Black Bear, Censor, The Sparks Brothers, Halloween Kills, Eternals, Titane

Any recommendations? What are the best 2021 movies that I’ve missed?

I feel like I better end this with The Beatles doing Get Back during that rooftop concert (even though I must admit that Get Back has never been a favorite song of mine – I’m mostly a Rubber Soul/ Revolver era fan):

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021) & Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (2019) Reviews

Two quickie reviews today before I get my monthly roundup post ready for sometime next week. Two very different films, obviously, but I enjoyed them both.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

Based on Marvel Comics

Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, Tony Leung

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In the film, Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past when his father Wenwu (Leung), the leader of the Ten Rings organization, draws Shang-Chi and his sister Xialing (Zhang) into a search for a mythical village.

My Opinion:

I reviewed Black Widow last month & said again that I have superhero burnout with all these MCU films. Black Widow wasn’t horrible but it certainly wasn’t great. I’ve watched all the MCU movies as they’re fun but I’m certainly not some huge fan of them. It’s probably why I usually prefer the ones that aren’t quite as formulaic. That may be obvious as Guardians Of The Galaxy is easily my favorite of the MCU films, which I ranked HERE. I’ve just added Shang-Chi to that list. It’s in the middle. I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting and more than Black Widow. Again, I liked that this one at least felt a little different from the majority of the MCU stuff.

Gotta say I’m surprised they keep putting Awkwafina in movies as I can certainly understand why some people can’t stand her. Doesn’t bother me, though, as I like her (also liked her in Raya And The Last Dragon, which I thought was pretty good). But it’s a shame that she probably put some people off this film a bit. Her friendship with Shang-Chi was fun & Simu Liu was really good in the role. We also got some great female characters with Shang-Chi’s kick-ass sister & super cool mother and aunt. His aunt was played by the brilliant Michelle Yeoh who was great as always. Tony Leung Chiu-wai played Shang-Chi’s heartbroken & complicated father and I really liked that role as well as the role of the aunt & the mother.

Everyone was good in this but the adults, especially Tony Leung Chiu-wai & Michelle Yeoh, were the best. But, hey, they’re already big stars for a reason as they have a great presence. Oh my god – did I just call them the “adults”?! Ha! How old do I sound?!?! Shang-Chi must be about 30? Okay – he’s the son in this so I just meant the parents & the aunt were all super cool. Oh – and I highly recommend Tony Leung Chiu-wai’s Infernal Affairs, which was remade as The Departed. Fantastic film.

For some reason, I couldn’t find great pictures from this movie. Sorry for not including images of the characters I just raved about! Too late to add now, as I need my post’s tweet to be what I’ve already added as my last image since I finally figured out that it tweets that last one you uploaded. Only took me almost 9 years to figure that out! Well, here’s Shang-Chi again. Who is an adult too…

This one did start out quite slow but really picked up for me later in the film when Shang-Chi returns home and we get to see all the cool mystical & mythical shit. I loved the hidden village and all the creatures but, again, that will be because I get bored with the MCU stuff and the end of this felt very different to those films. But it’s also what will have made people like or hate this one, I guess, and I could understand why some MCU fans maybe wouldn’t love the end of this one. Did they? I honestly don’t have a clue as I avoided all reviews as I knew I wouldn’t be seeing this one until after everyone else did. I also liked the story itself, which I can’t say of every Marvel film, and again thought the father was one of the better “complex” characters and enjoyed the story of him & his wife. So I liked this more than plenty of the MCU films but I do admittedly have very different taste from the diehard Marvel fans. Contemplating upping my rating but will leave it as is for now…

My Rating: 7/10

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu)

Directed & Written by Céline Sciamma

Starring: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Valeria Golino

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in France in the late 18th century, the film tells the story of an affair between an aristocrat and a painter commissioned to paint her portrait.

My Opinion:

Was very happy to see this on BBC iPlayer as everyone absolutely raved about it when it came out. It’s a good film. I’m not, like, “OhmygodthisisthebestmovieEVER!!!!!” but the characters are strong & I was interested in what would happen with their relationship. It was just really unfortunate that Noémie Merlant kind of looks like Emma Watson in the face. So I kept picturing Watson making her weird annoying faces while attempting to act (Merlant can act, though). I especially liked Adèle Haenel’s character (I dunno – I always go for the blondes) and they had really good chemistry together.


Nice to see people actually following Covid guidelines…

I liked the extra story with the maid girl or whatever she was. I liked the green dress in the top photo. Kind of reminds me of my high school prom dress! Ha! The color, anyway, but mine had black lace. And I liked when those weird women started beatboxing & then the “on fire” incident happened, which was a great scene. And the book in the painting plus the ending were lovely & bittersweet.

Overall, I liked the characters & the romance and preferred watching women on an island not being psychotic assholes, unlike those idiots in The Lighthouse. Glad I finally managed to see this one.

My Rating: 7.5/10

tick, tick… BOOM! (2021) Review

tick, tick… BOOM! (2021)

Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Based on Tick, Tick… Boom! by Jonathan Larson

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, Vanessa Hudgens

Music by Jonathan Larson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theater composer navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.

My Opinion:

I’ll be honest – I read about this movie and wasn’t going to bother even watching it as it’s just really not my sort of thing. I do like “theatre” but have seen very little of it (I’m not made of money! And going into London stresses me out). I’d like to see more but my knowledge on theatre shows is very limited. I know pretty much nothing about Rent other than I think it’s what they spoofed in Team America? So that’s the type of person I am watching this movie about the guy who created Rent.

I have to say this started out really slow but, by the end, I really enjoyed it and thought this guy (Jonathan Larson) had a very interesting life. I loved his passion for what he did and am sad that things ended up as they did. Obviously, I had no knowledge of Larson before seeing this movie. I am assuming that theatre people enjoyed this one as I think the film really captures that lifestyle (or what I assume that lifestyle is like – I could be wrong!). As the film was directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, I’m sure he captured the theatre lifestyle. I thought Andrew Garfield was very good but I can’t say if he has done Larson well or not? So hopefully those who knew him are happy with the film. Oh, and I did like the diner number and am pretty sure it had a lot of big theatre names in it so I’m sure fans loved it. But I’ll admit that I only recognised a few faces, mainly the women from Cheers & Life Goes On as I know more about TV than theatre!

Larson’s friends in this were really great characters as well. I especially liked Alexandra Shipp as his girlfriend & Robin de Jesus as his best friend. And Vanessa Hudgens was good as one of those performing his songs. Judith Light (Who’s The Boss!) was very entertaining in a small role as Larson’s agent. Finally, Bradley Whitford played Stephen Sondheim, who inspired & encouraged Larson. R.I.P. Stephen Sondheim, who passed away over the weekend. Hopefully Whitford did him justice. I thought both Whitford & Garfield were very good in this. As I said above, hopefully those who knew them are pleased with this film.

So, as a non-theatre person, I enjoyed the story in this film. It was told through showing Larson performing his musical tick, tick… BOOM! (I believe?), which is about his life and fear of turning 30 & time running out. Then, as he tells his story through that musical, you get to see him put together his first show (Superbia) and get to watch the actors perform those songs before a small audience (I think this was to determine if it would be made into a Broadway show?). It sadly wasn’t but, hey – it’s now in a movie! And I thought those songs were pretty catchy and think I’d rather watch Superbia than the tick, tick… BOOM! one. So it was great how they told his story in a straightforward movie kind of way while also showing the audience a lot of his work in two of his musicals. I thought it worked really well telling his story this way & am glad I decided to give the film a chance. And I’ve just now also decided to up my rating half a point.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Trees Lounge (1996) Review

Trees Lounge (1996)

Directed & Written by Steve Buscemi

Starring: Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Mark Boone Junior, Anthony LaPaglia, Elizabeth Bracco, Eszter Balint, Carol Kane, Daniel Baldwin, Mimi Rogers, Debi Mazar, Seymour Cassel, Bianca Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Tommy is an unemployed mechanic who spends most of his time in a bar (Trees Lounge) in a small blue collar town. He seems to always be thinking, “If only X then I could stop drinking”.

My Opinion:

Really liked this Steve Buscemi movie (which is on Pluto TV in the U.K., FYI). Confession: I have sort of a weird crush on Steve Buscemi. I always enjoy his quirky characters and, hey, I think his cameos in Adam Sandler’s movies are hilarious. Yeah! I’m not ashamed! Plus, he seems like a nice guy in real life which is great since so many celebrities seem like fucking assholes & I can’t stand the majority of them as people. So it was great seeing a younger Buscemi as the lead character in this 1996 film (which he also wrote & directed).

This is one of those very “indie” films that is more about the characters than the plot, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s the kind of thing I like when the characters are interesting or at least entertaining. It’s about Buscemi’s alcoholic character, Tommy, who hangs out at his local dive bar (Trees Lounge) while drinking his life away. He’s lost his girlfriend & his job & he’s wandering aimlessly through life. We get to see a bit of the also aimless lives of some other regulars at Trees Lounge as well as some of Tommy’s friends & family (including his real life brother playing his brother). It’s also a very New York indie, so I enjoyed that despite never having actually been to New York. It’s always just as much a “character” as any of the actors are when a film is set in NYC.

It was also great seeing so many known names in this (including a small role for Samuel L. Jackson). Enjoyed Carol Kane as the Trees Lounge bartender & the bar’s quirky regulars and I wanted to hang out with Buscemi in the ice cream truck. Check out this cast (from Wikipedia): Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Mark Boone Junior, Anthony LaPaglia, Elizabeth Bracco, Eszter Balint, Carol Kane, Daniel Baldwin, Mimi Rogers, Debi Mazar, Seymour Cassel, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Buscemi.

Good stuff! Too bad Buscemi made no more films. I’d happily watch more movies like this one. I’ve just added Trees Lounge to my list of My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies. I’ve put it at ten, knocking out The Big Lebowski. Never been big on that film…

My Rating: 7.5/10

Happy 9th Blogiversary To Me

I know I say this every year but I can’t believe I’m still here (somewhat) blogging. 9 years now!

I almost completely forgot to put a post together for it this year. Work has been crazy busy and I was badly wanting to catch up on actually reading other blogs this month. I’ll try to visit my favorites soon, I promise! 🙂

So as I’m preparing this post at the last minute, I’ll keep it short again & just list my Top Ten Movie Lists For 2021 So Far as it’s nearly the end of the year anyway. I’m still not really braving the cinemas yet, so this is mainly movies “released in the U.K. for the first time in whatever format in 2021 that I actually managed to watch”. So, yes, most big cinema releases are sadly missing.

So here are My Top Ten Movies Released To U.K. Cinemas Or Streaming Services In 2021 So Far:

1. Dune – 8.5/10
2. Spontaneous – 8/10
3. Promising Young Woman – 8/10
4. Minari – 7.5/10
5. Willy’s Wonderland – 7.5/10
6. Space Sweepers – 7.5/10
7. Moxie – 7.5/10
8. The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things – 7.5/10
9. Raya And The Last Dragon – 7/10
10. The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – 7/10

Honorable Mentions: (7/10)
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Palmer, tick, tick… BOOM!, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Free Guy

My Top Ten Older Release Movies Seen In 2021 So Far (a MUCH stronger list than the 2021 releases!):

1. Gandhi – 8.5/10
2. When Marnie Was There – 8/10
3. It Happened One Night – 8/10
4. Black Narcissus (1947) – 8/10
5. Swallow – 8/10
6. Wings Of Desire – 8/10
7. Dracula (1931) – 8/10
8. The Secret Of Kells – 7.5/10
9. Les Diaboliques – 7.5/10
10. Battleship Potemkin – 7.5/10

Honorable Mentions: (7.5/10)
Bloodsport, Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, The Hunt (2020), Hud, Kind Hearts And Coronets, The Innocents (1961), Trees Lounge

And…. Screw it! I watched the most TV I’ve watched in years in 2021. So let’s rank those too! Especially as there were some great shows.

Here are My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021 So Far:

1. Squid Game: S1
2. Cobra Kai: S3
3. Ted Lasso: S1, S2 E1-2
4. WandaVision: S1
5. Monsters At Work: S1
6. Sweet Tooth: S1
7. Midnight Mass: S1
8. Loki: S1
9. Lisey’s Story
10. The White Lotus: S1

The full list of everything I’ve watched & read in 2021 is HERE.

Space Sweepers (2021) Review

Space Sweepers (승리호, 勝利號, Seungriho)

Directed by Jo Sung-hee

Starring: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Yoo Hae-jin

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Set in the year 2092 and follows the crew of a space junk collector ship called The Victory. When they discover a humanoid robot named Dorothy that’s known to be a weapon of mass destruction, they get involved in a risky business deal.

My Opinion:

Really enjoyed this movie. That’s two things I’ve liked on Netflix recently! I struggle to find anything new that I like on Netflix (the other recent thing I liked being Squid Game – I LOVED that).

There really has been some great South Korean stuff in recent years & what they seem to have in common is this: Good characters. Simple, yeah? Surely it’s easy to write good characters? I sometimes feel like Western cinema has forgotten that audiences want to actually care about the characters. And the South Korean stuff also seems to do really well with making us care about complex characters who are often far from perfect. Especially people down on their luck and/or fighting for survival (Parasite, Train To Busan, Squid Game). They made us cry over a zombie movie and a mega violent Battle-Royale-Style TV show, for crying out loud! Why can’t we get more American movies like that?

Don’t want to totally mislead anyone by mentioning Train To Busan & Parasite as those are very good films. Space Sweepers is more “blockbuster popcorn movie” & closer to being the sort of thing a more mainstream Western audience might go for. It’s cheesy & silly at times but they still got that one thing right: Good characters. The film follows a group of space crew misfits who risk their lives collecting space debris to sell while those living on Earth struggle to survive while breathing highly polluted air. They find a young girl stowaway on their ship one day & the movie really picks up from there. If you watch it, stick with it as it gets much better at that point after starting out like a basic sci-fi action blockbuster.

The sci-fi action is fine & the story of yet another dystopian future is decent enough but the characters are what make it enjoyable. We have a funny robot and a tough guy who goes all warm & fuzzy as soon as a cute young kid shows up. We also have a good tearjerker backstory with the main dude & the girl playing the crew’s Captain is cool. Then of course we have the young girl, who is adorable. Yeah, the movie is a little cheesy at times but it’s fun and the South Korean characters are once again well-written (especially for a sci-fi action blockbuster).

My Rating: 7.5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2021

I spent October posting (well, mostly re-posting) nothing but horror movie reviews. It’s fun but I always like getting back to reviewing every type of movie. Here’s everything I watched in October, including all the non-horror stuff…

MOVIES WATCHED IN OCTOBER (ranked best to worst):

Dune – Reviewed this in full at the link. Liked it a lot. Love Denis Villeneuve’s work & enjoyed reading Dune last year during lockdown so was really looking forward to the adaptation. It looked great and (most of) the cast were perfect. Especially loved Rebecca Ferguson as my favorite character Lady Jessica. I now have a new favorite 2021 film release. – 8.5/10

Dracula (1931) – I did a bunch of “my favorite horror movies” lists in October & one was My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies. I’d commented that it was shameful I’d seen so few to be able to make that list and had seen none of the classic “monster” movies such as this one. So I was very happy when the Horror Channel in the U.K. showed a bunch of them over Halloween weekend. I haven’t yet updated that list with these but I did do a quick post HERE with a very short review of each. Dracula was my favorite. They’re all so iconic & I’m glad I finally saw them. – 8/10

Frankenstein (1931) – I forced myself to read this book during lockdown as I must admit I don’t read enough classics. I love the overall story. It’s damn good. So I was expecting to like this movie the most but I think I ended up a bit disappointed as I didn’t realize how different it was from the book! I was just kind of sad as I didn’t feel this movie captured the creature’s complex feelings & turned him into more of a monster while the flawed Victor Frankenstein character is hardly explored at all. But, hey – it’s still a horror classic & gave us the iconic “Frankenstein’s monster” look we now all associate with the character. – 7.5/10

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) – This was a bit of an odd one to me but I really liked that, combined with the first movie, we get a little more of the story from the book. And I liked that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, starting to tell more of her Frankenstein story, as well as The Bride in the title of the film. Again, it was great seeing The Bride & her also now truly iconic horror look. Love that crazy hairdo! – 7/10

The Wolf Man (1941) – Enjoyed this one as well, although I don’t really know what to say about this or The Invisible Man as I knew the least about these stories (but of course know the werewolf legend). Yeah, I like werewolves almost as much as vampires when it comes to classic Halloween monsters so of course enjoyed this very straightforward werewolf story. – 7/10

The Invisible Man (1933) – I know the least about this story and, no, I’ve not read the H. G. Wells book. I enjoyed this but liked it a bit less than the more “classic monster” movies I watched Halloween weekend. I loved the special effects, though. I thought they were damn good for 1933! It was fun watching all of these & I’m happy I finally saw them. Thanks, Horror Channel! – 7/10

Black Widow – This was fine. I’ve said many times that I have “superhero burnout”. I do enjoy the Marvel movies and I’ve watched them all (and ranked them HERE of course since I’m obsessed with lists). I’ve put this one at 14 for now but think I was maybe being too generous as I liked getting another Marvel movie with a female lead and it’s about time that Black Widow got her own movie. But I might move it down a bit because, damn, I wish it had been a little better. It’s certainly not awful & I did enjoy watching it but, meh…

I liked the characters, though. I think it was the story that didn’t work so well. Scarlett Johansson was good as always and I did really like Florence Pugh even though I don’t get the obsession that younger people have with her like she’s the best actress EVER or something – she’s okay? I also really liked David Harbour & Rachel Weisz and their crazy little “family” but think the hubby wasn’t so happy with what they did with Harbour’s character. Or something. I dunno – I know nothing about the comics & these characters outside of the movies but I think that helps me to just enjoy the films since I don’t have to worry about how they adapt the characters.

This movie also did the exact same OTT action-filled ending as every single other Marvel film and seeing that same formula over & over again is getting boring. Man, I hate reviewing Marvel movies as I say the same things over & over again since it feels like I’m watching the same movie over & over again. They’re fun & I watch them as I do enjoy them while they’re on but I don’t tend to revisit them. I’m glad Black Widow got her own movie. I liked the characters & their fucked-up little “family”. The overall story was a bit dumb. Hoping Shang-Chi will be better? Think that’s coming to Disney Plus this week. I want to see something a little different. – 7/10

Tenet – First of all, I better say that I’m not a Christopher Nolan fan. As with Florence Pugh, I also don’t get the obsession with Nolan & people thinking he’s one of the best directors ever or something. He’s okay? I did love The Prestige, kind of hated Interstellar, and felt meh about most of the rest. Okay, The Dark Knight was decent too but, as with all his movies, it’s rated far too highly.

I unfortunately feel kind of the same about Tenet as I did Interstellar. I liked the idea behind the story but thought the execution was a complete mess by the end. I feel like Nolan tries too hard to make a story more confusing than it needs to be so that diehard fans can go “You just don’t get it” whenever anyone doesn’t worship a Nolan film & points out that it’s not as great as they think it is. John David Washington was fine as was Robert Pattinson. They did what they could with this story. I liked the story involving Elizabeth Debicki & her complete dick of a husband, although her character made some shitty decisions and, honestly, could’ve fucked up a very important mission.

I don’t know. I didn’t hate the movie. I thought the overall story was fine & enjoyed seeing things played out in reverse. But I also think the execution of the story was a bit of a mess. Again. Now thinking I should rewatch Memento again as I did like that at the time but don’t remember it being so messy? It seems like Nolan’s movies are getting worse over time. – 6.5/10

Class Of 1984 – This was kind of a weird one. I kind of liked it. I think. I watched Class Of 1999 (from 1989) several years ago and, man, that was pretty cheesy. That was about a school with a bunch of unruly delinquent students so secret robot teachers are hired to keep them in line. The Class Of 1984 school certainly could’ve used some killer robot teachers! It’s about a new teacher (Perry King) who starts at a school that is being terrorised by some truly evil students. When he stands up to them, they begin terrorising him as well. It’s one of those “based on true events!” movies where I’m thinking that’s bullshit as, yeah, some teenagers could be horrible but I don’t think they were this bad in 1984. I grew up in the ’80s – we were pretty nice!

I liked Roddy McDowall as a fellow teacher who gets pushed over the edge & it was fun seeing a very young Michael J. Fox from before he was famous (he’s a nice student, of course – not one of the bad ones). This movie goes very over-the-top at the end, though. I liked all of that sweet revenge but could’ve done without the long & drawn out rape scene. I know they needed to make us really hate these evil fuckers but I think anyone watching the movie hated them enough before that. The movie was more “extreme” than I was expecting. Not so much in showing actual gore & blood, which was mild, but the baddies truly were evil & violent people. Am assuming it was controversial at the time. I think it could’ve been much better. It kind of feels like a movie that thought it was tackling an important topic but the end was too over the top to take seriously. Enjoyed the revenge, though. – 6.5/10


The Night House – I reviewed this separately since it’s one of the few horror movies I actually watched in October. It was fine. Could’ve been better but I was very happy to be able to watch a new horror on Disney Plus. Had some good eerie bits, at least, and supernatural horror is always my favorite type. – 6/10

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit – I’ve never paid much attention to Wallace & Gromit. Not sure why. I’ve liked what I’ve seen, though. Halloween seemed like a good time to finally watch this one for my Best Picture Project. The focus of that is to of course watch all the Best Picture winners but I’d like to watch some of the foreign language winners as well. And I then noticed I’d seen all of the Best Animated Features except for two: this & Rango, which I’ve also now watched. Woohoo! I’ve seen all the winners in that category now! My life is complete!

Anyway. This was cute & funny & I’m sure Wallace & Gromit fans like it. I enjoyed it. I’ll be honest, though, neither this nor Rango were as good as the Pixar & Disney films that tend to always win so it’s obvious they weren’t up against those. Rango didn’t have much competition but, wow, I disagree with Wallace & Gromit winning over Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride & especially over Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle!! What?!? Well, that’s the Academy for you I guess. – 6.5/10

First Love – I was mostly interested in checking this out as it’s a Takashi Miike movie and his Audition film was certainly interesting. I believe a lot of his stuff is extreme so I was interested in this one as it was meant to be less crazy. But I found it a bit boring. I liked the young boxer & the girl he helps plus there were some fun, quirky characters including one pissed off chick who was amusing. But I was mostly bored & sad it didn’t live up to its really cool movie poster. Here’s the short Wikipedia synopsis (the poster is also at the link): “It tells the story of a boxer and a call girl who become unwittingly involved in a drug-smuggling scheme.” – 6/10

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers – I watched the “Loomis timeline” first 6 Halloween movies in October & reviewed them all in a post on Halloween (at the link) so no need to say much here as well. I’ll just say this: the first Halloween, as expected, is far superior to the sequels. The rest are below as I rewatched them but this & number 6 were first time watches for me. They aren’t great! I still far prefer the Elm Street movies. – 5.5/10

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers – This was the worst of these Michael Myers sequels but I’ve given it an extra half a point since adorable young Paul Rudd is in it (looking exactly the same as he does now). – 5.5/10

Terror Train – Since I was watching all the Halloween movies, it made sense to also check out this 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis slasher I’d somehow never heard of. I’ve reviewed it in full as well so I’ll just say it wasn’t great but seemed to have a pretty good budget for the time & I liked the train setting. It was like a slightly shit version of an Agatha Christie story. I don’t know why I’ve put it underneath Halloween 5 & 6 as it’s actually better than those… But they of course have the “Michael Myers/Halloween” franchise thing going for them I guess and I’m more likely to remember those than this somewhat forgettable horror. – 6/10

Movies Rewatched In October:

Halloween (1978) – This is obviously an all-time slasher classic from the great John Carpenter. And I adore his score, as I do in his other movies. The Halloween theme is absolutely brilliant and I’m convinced it’s what has actually made this such a popular franchise. I can’t imagine this movie without the music. – 8/10

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – This is one of those movies where I want to give it a higher rating as I love a few of the songs (especially Time Warp) and it’s SO iconic & it’s fun & Tim Curry is truly awesome. But, man, the final half hour or so of this thing has always been pretty sucky. Sorry! But I realize that’s kind of the point as it’s meant to be like a cheesy ’50s B movie. Should I up my rating?? I really should… It’s a classic. I’ll think about it! For now, I’ll leave it with this: – 7.5/10 (Re-watching this has made me further appreciate Phantom Of The Paradise too – both deserve their cult status)

Us – Appreciated this a bit more on rewatching it. It’s flawed but I really like the story & stand by my opinion that it’s much better than Get Out. – 7.5/10

Logan – I also stand by my opinion that I prefer the X-Men movies (bad as most of them unfortunately are) to the MCU movies. I just prefer the characters. Will be fun, though, if (when??) they bring them together? I don’t love Logan but it’s very good and certainly the best of the Wolverine films. – 7.5/10

Halloween II (1981) – The least sucky of the Halloween sequels since at least Jamie Lee Curtis/Laurie Strode is actually in the damn thing. – 6.5/10

Fun Size – This is a fun “teen” Halloween movie. Actually has some pretty raunchy jokes in it for a Nickelodeon movie! The best thing about it is the weird little brother – he’s funny. – 6.5/10

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers – At least this one is better than 5 & 6? Think it could grow on me as I like the character of Jamie Lloyd & liked the ending. – 6/10

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch – Oh man, I wanted to love this as I vaguely remembered liking the jingle from it when I saw it as a teen. But it’s really not good. However, I do wish they’d continued with this idea of having Halloween be a series of unrelated stories as I love horror anthologies. The story in this was also a pretty good idea. I just wish the movie itself was much better. – 5/10

TV Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales – These are always fun and it was a nice surprise when (slight spoiler!) they spoofed a “horror” favorite of mine: The Lost Boys. Wasn’t expecting that! Don’t think the kids watching are going to get those references, though.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Midnight Mass: S1 E2-7 – I like Mike Flanagan. I think I’ve watched every single movie of his, most of which I’ve really liked. But I have yet to really love something of his. Doctor Sleep & Gerald’s Game were my favorites, but is that thanks to the Stephen King thing since I’m such a big King fan? And I have to say that Midnight Mass feels very VERY much like a King story, such as Salem’s Lot (a favorite book), which is probably why I thought this was a pretty great show.

I tried to watch another Flanagan show but gave up after a couple of episodes as it was just too damn slow. No, I’m not someone with a short attention span but I also don’t really want to spend hours & hours watching a TV show. Think it’s why I just prefer movies. A good movie can do just as well with character development in less time as long as they do it right. So, Midnight Mass started the same way as most Flanagan stuff & I admit I wasn’t feeling it at all at first.

I’m really glad I didn’t give up on it as the end of episode 3 is when I went “Fuck yeah – something good is finally happening!!“. They then spent far too long talking in all the remaining episodes too, blah blah blah blah, but we got some great supernatural horror (my favorite!) in between all that blathering. The characters were good, especially Flanagan’s wife, and I loved this small, very Stephen-King-esque island community setting. That was great! I want to live there! You know, without the freaky supernatural horror stuff. And I absolutely hated the religious nut bitch (as you’re meant to) and her type of character also screamed Stephen-King-character because that’s the exact sort of character he writes so often. Same with the main guy with the tragic past. So, yeah, I probably liked this as it was so very much like a Stephen King story. Again, though, I just wish I could love a Flanagan movie/show. He’s getting closer!

Alice In Borderland: S1 E1-5 – After being absolutely obsessed with the brilliant Squid Game (I loved it! Watched the whole thing twice!), we decided to check out this Japanese show as it’s one of those they recommend if you liked Squid Game. I can see why, as it also involves people being forced to play games that can result in their deaths. It’s fun so far so but we’re only halfway through, so I’ll say more once I’ve finished it.

It’s definitely not as good as Squid Game, though. The characters aren’t nearly as well developed. It’s also very “youth aimed”, which is fine, but the majority of the people on this show are in their 20s whereas Squid Game varied more in ages. Also, it doesn’t have the same sense of desperation that the characters in Squid Game had as they were down on their luck & needing the big prize. The “players” in this show are (seemingly at this point) chosen at random to participate. I like the mystery of it, though, as it appears that everyone else in the world has disappeared so am eager to find out what’s going on with the overall story…

Never Mind The Buzzcocks: S29 E2-6– God, it’s like the old Buzzcocks from years ago had the soul sucked out of it completely. Very disappointing. Think they need new regulars?!

The Masked Singer U.S.: S6 E1-7 – This show is so stupid but I seem to keep watching it. I’m convinced that one dude is John Lydon…

MUSIC LISTENED TO

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood – I liked this heavy metal band’s first album, where every song is about a horror movie, so was happy when they released this second album in time for Halloween this year. It’s just a bit screamy, FYI, if you don’t go for the full-on screamy metal stuff. I have to be in the right sort of mood but will always prefer classic metal, such as Black Sabbath, to this more modern stuff. The “horror movie” idea for these two albums was a great one, though.

Iron Maiden – SenjutsuCompletely forgot to mention this album in my roundup the month it came out so figured I’d mention it quickly now. Really like it. I streamed it shitloads while working that month, hoping to help it beat Drake to the number one spot. It didn’t. I’m still bitter & annoyed. Yeah, I know I sound like an old person. Don’t care! 😉 Drake did a version of I’m Too Sexy, FFS. Right? Seriously?! Ugh. I weep for the future. Kids these days! Glad mine loves a lot of great classic rock & can name loads of bands from the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s.

BOOKS READ

Billy Summers by Stephen King – Enjoyed this, as I do with most King books, but it’ll never be a favorite. I always prefer King when he’s doing his supernatural horror thing so, this straightforward “crime” story of a professional hitman hired to kill a bad guy on his way to court, wasn’t really my sort of thing. The character of the hitman (Billy Summers) was fine as you do feel some sympathy for him (plus he only kills bad people!). The relationship he develops later on with a character is a bit awkward. I think I’d have been a bit bored if this book didn’t also include a “story within the story” as Billy Summers decides to write a book about his life while waiting for the man he’s been hired to kill. So we learn about his life from a young age via the book he writes. I liked that & it was the best thing about this book. Oh! That and references to a well known place from one of King’s most famous books (and not in Maine!). – 3/5

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I might as well take this bit out of my roundup posts as I never really have any blog plans anymore. Watch movies, sometimes review them separately if I have much to say, otherwise just mention them in my monthly posts. 🙂

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Everything!!! Damn. Still not going to the cinema so missing soooooo many movies. Really want to see Last Night In Soho.

I’ll end today’s post with Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show…

Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf Man (1941) & The Invisible Man (1933) Reviews

I did a bunch of “my favorite horror movies” lists in October & one was My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies. I’d commented that it was shameful I’d seen so few to be able to make that list and had seen none of the classic “monster” movies such as Dracula, etc. So I was very happy when the Horror Channel in the U.K. showed a bunch of them over Halloween weekend. Thanks to the family for letting me watch half of them, too! I haven’t updated that list with these yet as I’m not sure where to place them at this point but figured that I should at least try to write a little something about these classics even though it’s after Halloween…

Dracula (1931)

Directed by Tod Browning

Based on Dracula (novel) by Bram Stoker & Dracula (play) by Hamilton Deane & John L. Balderston

Starring: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, a vampire who emigrates from Transylvania to England and preys upon the blood of living victims, including a young man’s fiancée.

My Opinion:

I don’t know where to start with these “reviews” as I’ve not watched enough classic horror to be able to easily discuss them. I’ll say that Dracula was easily my favorite of those I watched Halloween weekend. Bela Lugosi was great as Count Dracula. Loved his look and the mood of the start of the film in his creepy old castle in the fog & full of cobwebs. The whole thing just said traditional “Halloween” to me, so that was great. A proper vampire movie! Also, I noticed it was directed by Tod Browning who did the movie Freaks, which I absolutely adore & think is a fantastic film that was ahead of its time. So I was eager to see another Browning film.

Vampires aren’t usually my favorite when it comes to the typical “Halloween” monsters. As far as these type of movies go, it seems to be the zombie ones I like the most (thanks, George Romero!). So I wasn’t necessarily expecting this to be my favorite (I thought it would be Frankenstein). But Lugosi was so good & I loved seeing all the “vampire rules” played out, which I admittedly know best thanks to The Lost Boys. No “death by stereo” in Dracula, though! Ha!

Am so glad I finally watched this. I want to see all the Hammer Horror now too to compare, especially Dracula! Am guessing that just has more heaving bosoms. They loved heaving bosoms in old English movies. So between this Dracula, Nosferatu & my beloved The Lost Boys, maybe I do love vampires after all. It’s made me want to revisit Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula now as well. Or… maybe even read the book! Maybe. I did read Frankenstein recently. We’ll see!

My Rating: 8/10

Frankenstein (1931)

Directed by James Whale

Based on Frankenstein (novel) by Mary Shelley & Frankenstein (play) by Peggy Webling & John L. Balderston

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye, Edward van Sloan, Frederick Kerr

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster out of lifeless body parts.

My Opinion:

Unlike the rest, I do think I at least saw bits of this as a kid. I definitely remember the part with the girl. I forced myself to read this book during lockdown as I must admit I don’t read enough classics. Yes, I stick with Stephen King. I’m old, busy & tired. I’ll watch a serious film as it takes up less of my time but don’t have the energy to read War And Peace or some shit. Give me light entertainment for reading! I admit reading Frankenstein, with its 1818 language, was hard going. But I love the overall story. It’s damn good.

So I was expecting to like this movie the most but I think I ended up a bit disappointed as I didn’t realize how different it was from the book! I have no clue how close Dracula was to Stoker’s novel so that’s probably why I was able to just enjoy that movie as it is. Looks like Frankenstein was also partly based on a play adaptation? I was just kind of sad as I didn’t feel this movie captured the creature’s complex feelings & turned him into more of a monster while the flawed Victor Frankenstein character is hardly explored at all. But, hey – it’s a 1931 film. It’s still a horror classic & gave us the iconic “Frankenstein’s monster” look we now all associate with the character (which is also unlike described in the book). And I’ve now seen Boris Karloff in action as well as Bela Lugosi! It’s about time, I suppose.

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Directed by James Whale

Based on Premise suggested by Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger, E. E. Clive

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

My Opinion:

This was a bit of an odd one to me but I really liked that, combined with the first movie, we get a little more of the story from the book. Well, a little. We get a bit with the blind guy and I really liked that part of this movie. My favorite part of the book was when “the creature” hid in a family’s cottage for a very long time & sort of became fond of them & learned from them and the blind man in the movie was I guess a nod to that.

I liked that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, starting to tell more of her Frankenstein story, as well as The Bride in the title of the film. Didn’t know that, as I knew nothing whatsoever about this film beforehand. Again, it was great seeing The Bride & her also now truly iconic horror look. Love that crazy hairdo!

I also liked a super weird part of this movie in which a mad scientist guy has some tiny people in jars. In looking it up, I found they’re called “homunculi“. Fascinating! Here’s what it says at that Wikipedia link: “A homunculus is a representation of a small human being. Popularized in sixteenth-century alchemy and nineteenth-century fiction, it has historically referred to the creation of a miniature, fully formed human.” So that seemed silly at first but now I kind of love that bit. Fun film and, overall, I like the two of these movies together as one.

My Rating: 7/10

The Wolf Man (1941)

Directed by George Waggner

Starring: Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, Evelyn Ankers, Lon Chaney Jr.

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Larry Talbot returns to his father’s castle in Wales and meets a beautiful woman. One fateful night, Talbot escorts her to a local carnival where they meet a mysterious gypsy fortune teller.

My Opinion:

Enjoyed this one as well, although I don’t really know what to say about this or The Invisible Man as I knew the least about these stories (but of course know the werewolf legend). Well, I know about werewolves thanks to An American Werewolf In London & the beginning of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, of course! Oh, and Teen Wolf. I’m so ’80s! Hey – did you know a guy in Teen Wolf flashes his penis at the end of that movie?

So, anyway – Yeah, I like werewolves almost as much as vampires when it comes to classic Halloween monsters so of course enjoyed this very straightforward werewolf story. Hairy guys are just a little less sexy than those bloodsuckers, I guess. Lon Chaney Jr. stars as the Wolf Man in this (I knew that thanks to Warren Zevon). So I’ve seen another classic monster movie & actor. Feel like I have a tiny bit more movie blog cred now! Wow – this was a pathetic review. Oh! I like the Silver Bullet movie too. God I’m so ’80s…

My Rating: 7/10

The Invisible Man (1933)

Directed by James Whale

Based on The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

Starring: Gloria Stuart, Claude Rains, William Harrigan, Dudley Digges, Una O’Connor, Henry Travers, Forrester Harvey

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

My Opinion:

I know the least about this story and, no, I’ve not read the H. G. Wells book. In all honesty, I think the 2020 movie was my first real introduction to this character (which I assume is very different from the book!). So I’d feel like an ass saying too much about this movie.

I enjoyed it but liked it a bit less than the more “classic monster” movies I watched Halloween weekend. I loved the special effects, though. I thought they were damn good for 1933! I know jack shit about filmmaking but, with all the stupid CGI these days that rarely moves me, I was more impressed by whatever probably super simple tricks they used in this movie to make this guy’s head, etc, invisible in some scenes. Brilliant! Way cooler than computer magic.

FYI – the star of this one is Claude Rains and, once again, I’m happy to finally see these actors in these iconic roles. And, hey – the old lady from Titanic, Gloria Stuart, is in this. Her heart will go on! God I suck at reviewing old movies. This was good, though. All of these were. I’m glad I finally saw them. Thanks, Horror Channel!

My Rating: 7/10

Dune (2021) Review

Dune (2021)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Based on Dune by Frank Herbert

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in the far future, it follows Paul Atreides as his family, the noble House Atreides, is thrust into a war for the dangerous desert planet Arrakis.

My Opinion:

I finally read the first Dune book last year during lockdown in preparation for this movie (pathetic review HERE). Then, obviously, the movie was massively delayed. So, being old & forgetful, I’ve forgotten half the book by now. And, of course, the movie only covers half of the book (if that), so I have no chance of remembering the rest of the book by the time the next movie comes out. Hey, that’s okay – everything can be a surprise when I see it! I’ll say this, though – Holy shit, I was saying NONE of the names, etc, right in my head while reading the book. Half the movie I was like “Ah, so that’s how that word is said”.

Seriously, though, I really did like the book. I’d had no intention of reading the rest as I’ve heard they aren’t as good as the first one but I kind of want to know the whole story now instead of waiting years for the movies. There are some storylines & characters I’m far more interested in than others but I really like the overall story & the world Herbert created.

There are, as with many stories like these, far too many characters to keep straight or fully care about but there are a few I liked enough to keep me interested. For me, I like Paul of course but it’s mainly Lady Jessica. LOVE her! People moan about lack of good female characters but this book is from 1965 & Lady Jessica is awesome & the star of the story for me. Was disappointed that things involving her were left out of the movie, such as the secret garden, which I felt were quite important to the story. But I admit that I love the whole Bene Gesserit thing (Boy, was I saying Bene Gesserit wrong!) & wanted to see all of that onscreen. I realize that they could never possibly cover everything in these books but quite a lot was still left out so I’m very glad I read it!

I was also very worried as Rebecca Ferguson seemed to barely be in the trailers, etc, but she’s just as important as Timothée Chalamet’s character. Although they sadly left out some things involving her, I was happy that she does get plenty of screen time. Phew. And I’ve had a girl crush on Ferguson especially since Doctor Sleep so was very happy when she was cast as Lady Jessica as she seemed perfect. She’s fantastic. Easily my favorite thing about the movie as well as the book, so I still have a girl crush. She’s so lovely. Here’s a closeup of these two. They’re so damn pretty. Well, I don’t fully get why young girls like Chalamet but whatever. He has amazing hair, though:

Um. Let’s see. I’ve talked enough about Lady Jessica and that was the main thing I cared about. Am very happy with all of that but was happy with most everything to do with this adaptation. Yes, I’m sad that plenty was left out but that was to be expected. Yes, some of the characters weren’t how I imagined them but I thought they all did well including Jason Momoa who I was most worried about as Duncan Idaho & thought he’d throw me out of the story but he didn’t. Was sad to get so little of Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck, who is a great character. Was also disappointed that they didn’t get into the whole Mentat thing at all as that was quite interesting in the book but also confusing & I really wanted a refresher on what the Mentat are. Wow, I don’t remember the character of Glossu Rabban, played by Dave Bautista, at all. Pretty sure he’s important! I clearly pay less attention when they aren’t focusing on my favorite characters plus I wasn’t really feeling Bautista in the movie & he did throw me out of the movie a bit for some reason. But I thought all the rest of the casting was good enough.

Oh! Damn. Not even mentioned Zendaya. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know she’s not in it much. She has a very important role but, as I expected, she wasn’t going to be in this much as she shows up later in the book. I think some people were very disappointed as they pushed her so much in the marketing (which was stupid but, you know, they always push “youth” & beauty). To be fair, they used her more than they needed to for the first half of the book & much more than I was expecting. She’s good – I think she’ll be very good in the role based on what we’ve seen so far. SO looking forward to seeing the next movie now & seeing more of her Chani with Chalamet’s Paul. And seeing more Lady Jessica & that freaky Bene Gesserit stuff!

I thought this would be a short review! While writing this, more of the book has come back to me and I’ve decided I really do like what I’ve seen of Villeneuve’s adaptation so far and it has renewed my interest in the story & wanting to continue reading it now. Especially as so many things were left out of the movie… Now I’m wondering how much I’ve missed by not reading Game Of Thrones!

As for Villeneuve, I’m definitely a fan. I’ve liked all I’ve seen of his work and Arrival is probably my overall favorite film of the past decade (and it’s still my favorite of his). So I was very eagerly awaiting this Dune adaptation & he again didn’t disappoint. The world looked fantastic, though a little too dark. Why do serious movies have to be so dark & grey these days??? I know it’s a sandy, dreary planet but still – I get enough grey living in England. But it did still look lovely & the cast was (mostly) great and it made me like the story even more.

My only other small complaint is that the Hans Zimmer score was very disappointing. As in, it was bland and I hardly noticed it except for when it suddenly sounded like some Scottish Braveheart thing WTF? Disappointing as I adored Jóhann Jóhannsson’s (RIP 😦 ) work on Villeneuve’s other films (and especially on the non-Villeneuve Mandy) but sadly he couldn’t work with him again. I know it seems like a small thing but an amazing score can make a good film a great film for me. I still think this adaptation of Dune was pretty great & I’m happy with the results but, man, a perfect score really would’ve pushed this one even higher for me. Maybe the score will grow on me. Bring on the next movie! I can’t wait.

FYI – Yes, I did see the David Lynch Dune but I can barely remember the book a year & a half later so let’s just say I remember nothing from a movie I watched a good 25 years ago. Might rewatch now, though! Will keep my expectations low. Wish the Jodorowsky Dune had happened…

My Rating: 8.5/10

Halloween 1 Through 6 Mini Movie Reviews

Happy Halloween! My final post today contains my thoughts on Halloween 1-6, which I rewatched throughout October.

Even though I’m an ’80s kid & always enjoyed watching horror on TV every October, I just never quite managed to see all of the Halloween movies. To be fair, we didn’t have it as easy as you whipper snappers! I had to sneak around & try to watch what I could late at night on TV. And my mom was certainly not going to be renting violent slasher flicks for me. Well, I would’ve been old enough to rent the 6th Halloween movie… But I was an Elm Street girl by then, so that’s what I spent my time watching in its entirety instead. And, after now finally watching all of the first “Halloween timeline” movies, it has confirmed what I already knew: I’m still definitely an Elm Street girl.

As for other slasher franchises from the same sort of era, I’ve seen even fewer of the Friday The 13th movies. Can’t even say for sure but I’ve seen the first two then maybe a few others but couldn’t tell you which ones. Well, okay – one was that Jason in space one. Ha! Fucking hell. And, of course, Freddy Vs Jason where I was Team Freddy. As for Child’s Play, I never saw beyond the first three but I have no interest as they look really bad. However, I actually enjoyed those films, cheesy as they are, more than what I’ve seen of the Friday The 13th movies. Maybe I’ll try to watch all of Friday The 13th someday but I’m in no rush, especially since refreshing my memory & finding out just how bad the Halloween sequels actually are.

I saw more of Halloween than I’d realised, though, I just didn’t remember much other than the first movie. And I’ve watched the first movie plenty – it’s in a completely different league from the sequels. I believe it was only 5 & 6 which I’d not seen at all. I have no energy to watch every Halloween movie, though. Look at this shit!:

Okay, so what I’ve watched is “The Loomis Timeline” (and Halloween III). There are actually only three others I’ve not seen now: Resurrection, Halloween Kills (I’ll watch it when it’s on services), and Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (which I will never watch as I hated his Halloween film with an absolute fucking passion. Almost as much as I hated the Elm Street remake! Dreadful).

So here are some brief thoughts on each of the “Loomis Timeline” movies. By the 4th but especially the 5th & 6th one I was getting bored & just typing out random thoughts while they were on so, screw it, I’ll just post all those ramblings.

Halloween (1978)

Directed By John Carpenter

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis (her name is Loomis?! – Oh, interesting… she changed it. It’s really Nancy Kyes), Nick Castle

My Opinion:

Oh, it looks like I took a few notes while watching this: Cop daughter dodgy acting, Great score, Michael drives so well!

What can I say about Halloween? I’m not going to do some full review of any of these. I’ll just say that this one is SO much better than the rest. As with most slasher franchises, obviously. But, wow – the sequels are pretty dodgy after such a strong start with this one.

As in my notes, “Cop daughter dodgy acting“, I don’t think I have to look this up to see if anyone won an Oscar. But who wants good acting in a slasher movie anyway?? Jamie Lee Curtis is still one of the best “final girls” and makes up for the other two girls who are only there to be horny & murdered anyway. And I know Donald Pleasence was a proper actor & all that but he hams it up more and more in each of these movies. But it’s all part of the fun in campy slashers, which is what these sort of become. I far prefer the mood of this first movie, though, which has a more simple story & decent atmosphere & doesn’t get too over the top or silly. I have my Elm Street movies for ones that have a sense of “fun” & loads of other ’80s horror if I want campy.

Not gonna lie, though, there’s one thing I love above everything else when it comes to this movie & it’s the score. Carpenter’s Halloween theme is an all-time classic. It’s a damn masterpiece. That’s why it gets used over & over in all of the sequels & is the one truly great thing in each of them. Love it! I’m convinced these movies wouldn’t be nearly as popular if it wasn’t for that theme. Because, quite frankly, Michael Myers kind of sucks. Am I allowed to say that?! Blasphemy! He’s okay in this one, though. I like that he’s this purely evil psycho from a young age and I really like the beginning of the film & the image at the end of this review. That’s all good. But the character gets more & more ridiculous as these sequels go on & that starts to get boring. And I like the passion & desperation from Loomis in this one to catch Michael (before he gets too over the top & becomes slightly demented Loomis in the sequels).

I don’t mean to sound negative, though – this movie is a horror classic. Think I’m just frustrated by the sequels! They just aren’t ones I watched over & over as a teenager when I wasn’t so snobby & picky, I guess. So I don’t have that nostalgic love like I have for the Elm Streets but the first Halloween is great.

My Rating: 8/10

Halloween II (1981)

Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Dick Warlock

My Opinion:

Wow, I made two notes while watching this: Guy blowing up was funny, The sister plot!!

Okay – So is this when they made up the “Laurie is Michael’s sister” plot? Because that wasn’t in the first one, right?? That was a little silly. But, whatever – this movie wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I know I saw it years ago but didn’t remember anything other than “it’s not as good as the first one”. But at least it’s still Laurie/Jamie Lee, therefore it was far more enjoyable than the other sequels. I also like that it carries on immediately from where the first movie ends & there’s none of that “a number of years later” bullshit. I liked that some of the other sequels did that too (or did they all do that? Bloody hell – I just watched these & am already mixing 4, 5 & 6 all up in my mind!).

This was fine. I liked that it was still Laurie & Loomis. I liked that it was still horny people getting murdered while being horny. I liked the hospital setting. The ending was ridiculous & this is when it starts getting stupid that Michael just won’t fucking die but I know that’s the point of these slasher villains so I can’t exactly complain. But, come on – how the hell did Loomis survive?! Well, I suppose you don’t know that until number four, right?? Whatever. That’s okay. I’ll forgive some of the stupid stuff since this is the best of the sequels & at least Laurie is in it.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O’Herlihy, Nancy Kyes

My Opinion:

I made no notes while watching this. The hubby wanted to watch this one with me for some reason so I saw it last but knew it wouldn’t matter since it’s nothing to do with the Michael Myers story. I fell asleep & missed the end. I have to be honest – Watching this was a fucking chore. (I’ve still not finished it. I really should. I can’t be arsed).

Here’s what I remembered from seeing this one once as a teen: The jingle in the commercial & the masks. I can see why that’s all I remembered as those are the only things worth remembering. I gave this one a rating on Twitter already, though, and I think I was a bit too harsh. I’ll raise it by half a point as I love a horror anthology & like that they had the idea of doing these Halloween movies as unrelated individual stories. I wish they’d done that! I could live without the Michael Myers sequels. They’re better than THIS film but maybe they’d have made some really good movies if they’d continued with the anthology idea. And as far as the story goes, I think this movie has quite a good one! I like the story – it’s a clever idea. The Stonehenge connection is silly but, hey – Stonehenge is awesome & I love that place so that’s okay. The execution of the story just isn’t the greatest & the movie unfortunately comes across as very very bad film. But I can see why Film Twitter seems to love this one as it’s so unlike the Michael Myers Halloween films.

I wanted to like this. I thought I’d love it for some reason as I remembered liking that great jingle so much! Didn’t remember Tom Atkins being a dirty old perv. At least he finally asked that girl how old she was after sleeping with her once or twice. Ha! The ’80s. Gotta love ’em. Oh yeah – I meant to mention that I liked seeing a commercial on the TV in this movie for the first Halloween movie. Liked that they got that into this unrelated story.

My Rating: 5/10

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988)

Directed by Dwight H. Little

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, Michael Pataki

My Opinion:

My notes while watching this: Dumb that Laurie is dead, How did both those fuckers survive blowing up?, I like the sister, I like the ending (but 5 fucking ruins that).

After watching 5 & 6, I decided that this one wasn’t horrible. I hated that Laurie was suddenly dead with some dumb story that she’d died in a car accident, leaving her daughter (brand new character Jamie Lloyd) an orphan. I hate when characters are just written out of a story like that.

I very vaguely remember seeing this but, again, remembered no specifics. I liked the character of Jamie Lloyd & liked her in this & movie five (another character ruined by a sequel, though – I wasn’t happy with movie six!). That’s right – I’ve looked this up & it’s ten years after the events of movie two & Michael has been in a coma that whole time, which is to be expected since he was burnt to a fucking crisp along with Loomis who somehow just has a partially scarred face. But Myers has woken up now in 1988 because they decided they wanted to make another Michael Myers Halloween movie after all.

This movie has a couple things going for it. As I said, I liked the character of Jamie Lloyd & I also liked her foster sister. They were “nice”. I know that seems stupid but I want to have a likeable character or two, even in slasher flicks. They had a good relationship & Jamie was very cute. And I liked it now focusing on a girl much younger than the teenage Laurie Strode. But the foster sister is a teenager so we still get some horny teens fucking before dying (not the foster sister, though – she’s the good girl! Her boyfriend is a cheating bastard). Also, I really liked the ending. Okay, it’s maybe a little predictable and just ending the way the first Halloween began but I liked that full circle thing. Then the fifth movie had to come along and fuck that good ending up…

My Rating: 6/10

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers (1989)

Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan, Tamara Glynn

My Opinion:

Loads of notes while watching this (I was clearly getting bored), so here are my random thoughts:

– Is that how he thanks the guy who nursed him back to health?!

– Telepathic link is dumb

– Now she’s a step sister? Thought she was a foster sister in number 4.

– Did they have to kill the sister so soon?!

– So did the “step mom” survive??

– Loomis is demented & getting on my nerves

– Cartoon sound effects for the cops?! WTF?!?

– Jamie being a killer was cooler

– Michael sucks. He has no personality. I’m bored with him.

– I’ll say it again – Michael drives so well!

– No story to these – only 1 had a story

– Uncle! Hahaha. Heartwarming. Like Mando taking off his helmet for Grogu. Um… Why is he not burnt to a crisp?!

– Using her as bait? Loomis has lost the plot. A net?? That was a cartoon trick! Or Ewok trick. Get the net!

– Meandering

– He survived burning to a crisp but can’t handle a beating

– Who’s the guy with the boots?! I was paying no attention since I was bored.

Okay, that’s the end of my random thoughts. I think this was the first time I’ve ever seen this one. I’ll say this: It was annoying that they decided they didn’t want Jamie to be a cold-blooded killer after all. Boo!! But, oh well – at least we get likeable Jamie again. That was nice that they forgave her for stabbing her step mom, I guess. I was annoyed that they killed her nice step sister so quickly. As these movies were so similar, I keep messing them up in my mind. This then focused on her sister’s teenage friend instead, right, and Michael killing horny teens in a barn at a Halloween party? It’s really bad I can’t keep these straight when I’ve just watched them this month, for crying out loud. Oh yeah – I liked that this too picks up right from where number 4 ended. But!! Then Michael goes into another coma (what a pussy) and wakes up one year later to again terrorize Jamie. Guess the story needed time for her to be rehabilitated or whatever. And I was thoroughly confused by the ending because I think I wasn’t really paying attention but they cover that (sort of) in the final stupid Loomis Timeline movie anyway…

My Rating: 5.5/10

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)

Directed by Joe Chappelle

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan, Mitch Ryan

My Opinion:

Lots of random thoughts while watching this one too. At least I had cutie Paul Rudd to look at:

– Introducing Paul Stephen Rudd!

– Michael is slower than a fucking Romero zombie

– Michael Myers in space (what’s this note in relation to?! Oh, I think it was a radio caller? Is that where they got the Jason in space idea??).

– Shit, crazy Loomis is back

– Oh no, is cutie Paul Stephen Rudd bad?! (Later FYI – No, he wasn’t. Paul Rudd can’t be bad! He’s a sweetie!)

– This father is such an asshole – he better get killed by Michael!

– FYI – the mother is from the ’80s classic Better Off Dead… I’d recommend that over this movie…

– Is Loomis’s (Loomis’? Loomises?!) face not at all burned anymore?!

– Paul Stephen Rudd is blathering on about the Druids or some shit. Makes me want to listen to Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge. (Later FYI – wasn’t Stonehenge in the Halloween III plot? A link!!)

– Glad Paul Rudd got better at acting. He’s adorable in this, though.

– God, I was already out of high school when this came out. Maybe that’s why I never watched this one? Although I don’t think I saw number 5 either. Anyway – man, I’m so old. 😦 Almost as old as Paul Rudd! Although he looks much younger than me. But he looks younger than everyone…

– This just turned into Rosemary’s Baby. But, like, a bad Rosemary’s Baby.

– Wasn’t Jamie, like, 8ish in the fifth movie? And this is six years later & she had a baby?

– Oh shit – it’s over. I wasn’t paying much attention at the end there. What did I miss???

– What is this grunge music? Aww, how ’90s…

That’s the end of my random thoughts. This movie is the worst of these (not counting the unrelated Halloween III). I should rate it lower than number 5 as it’s definitely worse but I think I’ve upped the rating for adorable Paul Rudd. I also liked that he’s actually the character Tommy Doyle, who Laurie was babysitting in the first film, so that was a nice link. But I hated what they did with Jamie Lloyd’s character (what a waste!). Think I hated that even more than the Laurie Strode car accident write-off. Plus, um… Was she raped? Do they really explain all that? She’s actually kidnapped by this cult that, like, worships Michael Myers or some shit at the end of movie five so did they keep her those whole six years then impregnate her? Gross. She was really young in movie five – how was she of child bearing age only six years later anyway?

I admit that at one point I wanted more of an explanation as to why Myers was evil & also unable to be killed but I’ve changed my mind after this movie and its talk of Druids and some dumb curse & whatever other bullshit they were spouting. Dumb. Now I want to go back to the simplicity of the story in the first Halloween. He’s just evil. Sometimes that’s all the explanation you need.

In the movie’s defence, though, it sounds like there’s a better version. Maybe the story in that isn’t as much of an incoherent mess. From Wikipedia:

After the film’s home media release, the original workprint of the film, which featured 45 minutes of alternative footage and a different ending, was discovered by fans of the series. This version, dubbed The Producer’s Cut, developed a cult following, with bootleg DVD copies sold on eBay and online petitions targeting for an official release of it. In 2014, the Producer’s Cut was officially released on Blu-ray.

Well. I’ve rambled enough. This was a disappointing end to the Loomis Timeline but at least it gave us Paul Stephen Rudd.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Society (1989) Review

Happy Halloween! I decided it was time to bring this lovely post over to my own blog as it was lacking in shunting images. I don’t often review old favorites from before I started blogging but did this one for a fun blogathon over at Silver Screen Serenade (original post HERE). Enjoy!

Society (1989)

Directed by Brian Yuzna

Starring: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, Ben Meyerson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a Beverly Hills teenager who finds his wealthy parents are part of a gruesome cult for the social elite.

***WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE AND SLIGHTLY NSFW IMAGES TO FOLLOW***

My Opinion:

Here we go: I’m now going to talk about a film that all movie bloggers over a certain age should know well as I’m sure we all caught it on cable late one night & went “what the fuuuuuck?!?” (I know this was my experience with it). This is back in the days before the Internet was around to spoil a movie’s surprise ending for us before we had a chance to see it. You still had the occasional blabbermouth who might ruin a movie for you but it took a lot longer for word-of-mouth to travel back in the late 80s/early 90s and, although I think I saw this film a while after it was released, I’d managed to avoid hearing ANYTHING whatsoever about it. So imagine my surprise when I started watching a movie I’d not heard of on cable late one night that had that cute Billy Warlock in it. Yes – I’m talking, of course, about the 1989 film Society. For those who have somehow avoided seeing this one, there’ll first be some MINOR SPOILERS and then I’ll give another warning before giving MASSIVE SPOILERS regarding the crazy ending.

So, Billy Warlock plays a boy who is popular but just doesn’t seem to fit in with his rich family & their high society friends. Well, that seems pretty normal… who really gets along with their family? And rich people are wankers.

The movie is pretty boring at first & goes along really slowly with some dodgy acting. It felt kind of like an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 or Baywatch (which, hey – Billy Warlock was also in!). So I was getting ready to turn the channel & see what else was on when a couple of weird little things happened from out of nowhere.

Things like this:

And this:

Yeah – I think it was the “boobs on the back” thing that made me stick around. So some more stuff happens, blah blah blah… I still can’t really remember much of this movie until its ending – I don’t think anyone can. Then, after an hour of boredom, we get to the last half hour of this thing and WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?!?! Shunting, that’s what! SHUNTING! What the fuck is shunting? I’ll tell you what shunting is! Now is your chance to turn back if you’re at all intrigued and want to see this movie spoiler-free. MASSIVE SPOILERS and NSFW images to follow………………
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Billy Warlock comes home to find his family and their high society friends all engaged in shunting: a big orgy-looking thing where they’re all melting into each other & feeding off poor people. Like this:

And Billy Warlock’s mother & pretty sister have turned into this (the sister is the crotch):

And his father has truly become a butthead:

But it gets even BETTER. There is a way to defeat these high society bastards & escape so that you don’t end up being their next meal. I’ll keep that a surprise in case you still wish to watch the movie at this point but here’s a little preview. I think it’s one of the greatest moments in cinematic history:

I have to say I really kind of love Society – it must be my favorite film that I don’t actually own. I should change that… I was a big fan of Cronenberg’s The Fly for a good few years before seeing Society (like, was kind of obsessed with it & watched it over and over again when my mom wasn’t around to yell at me for watching nasty stuff) and I think, between these two films, I was kind of turned on to the body horror genre (I did a top ten of my favorite body horror movies HERE). Don’t get me wrong – Society is NOT as good as a Cronenberg film (and it’s not meant to be) but I can guarantee that anyone who saw it at the time hasn’t forgotten the final half hour. It may be super tame by today’s standards but that’s fine by me – nothing beats the cheesy special effects of a good 80’s body horror film. It’s a genre I still wish to explore more than I have – does anyone have any good recommendations?

My Rating: 7.5/10

Happy shunting, everyone!

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

Cat People (1942) & House On Haunted Hill (1959) Reviews

It’s almost Halloween! Here are two old classics today for October Horror Month…

Cat People (1942)

Directed by Jacques Tourneur

Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph, Jack Holt

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of Irena Dubrovna, a newly-married Serbian fashion illustrator obsessed with the idea that she is descended from an ancient tribe of Cat People who metamorphose into panthers when aroused. When her husband begins to show interest in one of his coworkers, Irena begins to stalk her.

My Opinion:

I’m loving all the classics on BBC iPlayer, especially old classic horror like this & the one below as I shamefully haven’t explored pre-1970 horror much (besides Alfred Hitchcock). This is a great story & I suppose a bit saucy for its time (1942). Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland’s fables if they are intimate together.

I did actually see the 1982 Cat People with Nastassja Kinski years ago but don’t remember a thing now other than I think it was a lot more “sexy” (obviously). Anyway, the girl in this is great (actress Simone Simon playing Serbian immigrant Irena) and I enjoyed the story and there was some cool creepy stuff going on with a panther stalking people (IS it a panther or is it actually Irena? Hmm!). Guess I should watch the sequel, The Curse Of The Cat People, sometime soon.

My Rating: 7/10

House On Haunted Hill (1959)

Directed by William Castle

Starring: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Elisha Cook, Carolyn Craig, Alan Marshal, Julie Mitchum, Richard Long

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Vincent Price plays an eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren, who, along with his wife Annabelle, has invited five people to the house for a “haunted house” party. Whoever stays in the house for one night will earn $10,000. As the night progresses, the guests are trapped within the house with an assortment of terrors.

My Opinion:

I have another shameful confession to make: I’m not sure if I’ve seen an old Vincent Price movie before? I may have many years ago but too long ago to remember now. Which is odd, as I loved scary & creepy stories from a young age (my two favorite TV shows as a kid were the Alfred Hitchcock TV show & The Twilight Zone). But I missed out on these sort of films on TV as a kid, I guess. Being my age, Vincent Price to me is the cool voice from Michael Jackson’s Thriller & the awesome inventor in Edward Scissorhands (adore that film).

Anyway, to show my age even more, the main reason I’ve wanted to see this for years is because I knew it was the movie the horror-loving character in my favorite Amazing Stories episode was playing on his TV. That was called Go To The Head Of The Class, FYI, and it RULES. It’s a short horror comedy starring Christopher Lloyd & Mary Stuart Masterson (I reviewed it very briefly HERE). I always assumed I’d had the ending of this movie ruined for me but it turned out the scene they used in Amazing Stories wasn’t the ending (phew).

This was a fun story with a lot of twists and back stabbing and you don’t know who can be trusted & what’s going on. Good stuff. I’d happily take recommendations of other old horrors to watch (I’ve always been curious about Hammer Horror films as well…).

My Rating: 7/10

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

The Platform (2019) Review

The Platform (El hoyo) (2019)

Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Starring: Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale, Alexandra Masangkay

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A vertical prison with one cell per level. Two people per cell. Only one food platform and two minutes per day to feed. An endless nightmare trapped in The Hole.

My Opinion:

I’ve been extremely disappointed with the majority of movies I’ve seen the past couple of years. The Platform was a nice surprise after a crappy year of films. I really liked this – it was my favorite I watched at home in 2020.

I always appreciate a good concept & seeing something that feels truly original as so many movies are cliché & predictable. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The Platform is a 2019 Spanish social science fiction-horror film directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. The film is set in a large, tower-style “Vertical Self-Management Center”. Its residents, who are switched every 30 days between its many floors, are fed via a platform which, initially filled with food at the top floor, gradually descends through the tower’s levels, stopping for a fixed amount of time on each. The system inevitably leads to conflict, as the residents at the top levels get to eat as much as they can, with each level getting only the leftovers from the previous ones.”

Yeah, it’s a bit of a grim dystopian tale but I’m still a fan of this genre despite the real-life dystopian Covid year so I realise it may not be the sort of thing people wanted to watch in 2020. But it’s a great story that poses some interesting questions & is well worth the watch on Netflix if you appreciate this sort of story. I liked it a lot.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Halloween Horror Music: Ice Nine Kills

I first discovered this band in early 2020 when a guy from work recommended them to me as he knows I like heavy metal music as well as horror movies. I admit I’ve not listened to their other albums as it was The Silver Scream album that appealed to me. It’s a heavy metal album with each song being about a different horror film. It couldn’t be more perfect for me & my interests & this blog! I’ve been meaning to write a little something about them & now seemed like the perfect time just before Halloween. Plus, they’ve just released The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood!

Well, my main focus here is movies but I do love music too. I’ve never written about music, though, so I’ll be very brief. This post is mainly just to maybe introduce these albums to others. I don’t know how the hell to write about music. Well, I don’t know how to write about movies, either… Ha!

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream

I really like this album, although it’s heavier (well, “screamier”) than the classic type of metal I tend to go for. A lot of the movies they did songs for on this first album are favorites of mine (A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Shining, The Crow & even the not-so-horror Edward Scissorhands). Now, with both of these albums, I don’t love every song. Some are definitely better than others but I absolutely love the concept & it’s a lot of fun having two albums based on some of the best horror movies. (I should point out that they also did an album of songs based on books, Every Trick in the Book, which I’ve not checked out yet.)

From this album, my favorites are probably The American Nightmare & Stabbing in the Dark. Here’s the full list of songs & the movies they’re based on (from Wikipedia):

1. “The American Nightmare” – A Nightmare on Elm Street
2. “Thank God It’s Friday” – Friday the 13th
3. “Stabbing in the Dark” – Halloween
4. “Savages” – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
5. “The Jig Is Up” – Saw
6. “A Grave Mistake” – The Crow
7. “Rocking the Boat” – Jaws
8. “Enjoy Your Slay” – The Shining
9. “Freak Flag” – The Devil’s Rejects (not seen this. not bothered)
10. “The World in My Hands” – Edward Scissorhands
11. “Merry Axe-mas” – Silent Night, Deadly Night (not seen this either but want to)
12. “Love Bites” – An American Werewolf in London
13. “It Is the End” – It

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood

I’ve only just found out about this new album so have only listened to it a couple of times while working. I believe that some have videos as well? Will check it out more this week but the first one to really catch my ear was the Child’s Play one Assault & Batteries. It seems to be a take on the old Toys R Us jingle (in America), so I thought that was clever. Here’s the track listing for this one from Wikipedia:

1. “Opening Night…”
2. “Welcome to Horrorwood”
3. “A Rash Decision” – Cabin Fever
4. “Assault & Batteries” – Child’s Play
5. “The Shower Scene” – Psycho
6. “Funeral Derangements” – Pet Sematary
7. “Rainy Day” – Resident Evil (not seen this)
8. “Hip to Be Scared” – American Psycho
9. “Take Your Pick” – My Bloody Valentine
10. “The Box” – Hellraiser
11. “F.L.Y.” – The Fly
12. “Würst Vacation” – Hostel (not seen this. not interested)
13. “Ex-Mørtis” – The Evil Dead
14. “Farewell II Flesh” – Candyman

Willy’s Wonderland (2021) & Saint Maud (2019) Reviews

Happy “Halloween Week”! Here are two horror movies that I thought were pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed one but didn’t love the other, although I thought it was a good film. Probably obvious which was which…

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

Directed by Kevin Lewis

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner, Kai Kadlec, Christian Del Grosso, Caylee Cowan, Terayle Hill, Jonathan Mercedes, David Sheftell, Beth Grant

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It follows a quiet drifter who is tricked into cleaning up an abandoned family entertainment center haunted by eight murderous animatronic characters.

My Opinion:

I was never a huge fan of Nicolas Cage but he’s finally growing on me since Mandy. Mandy grew on me a lot too – I wasn’t sure how I felt right away but now I love that film & its look and its amazing score. I now want every Nicolas Cage movie to live up to Mandy but I don’t think any ever will. I did enjoy Color Out Of Space & it certainly gave Mandy a run for its money on “weirdness”. I love weird. It was no Mandy but I’m loving that Cage chooses such bizarre films with cult movie potential.

He’s done similar again with Willy’s Wonderland but in the horror comedy genre this time (a favorite subgenre of mine). I was so damn excited to see the trailer for a film starring Cage battling demonic animatronic characters. Love this idea! The film sadly didn’t quite live up to its amazing potential but I still had a lot of fun with it. And Cage was as bonkers as always, even while remaining silent through the whole film. It has a good ’80s slasher sort of vibe to it as well, so I appreciated that. The ’80s had some of the best “bad” horror movies & I’ll always happily watch this kind of thing.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Saint Maud (2019)

Directed & Written by Rose Glass

Starring: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

My Opinion:

Watched this British psychological horror as so many went on about it but it’s one of those films being raved over for the performance. And I agree that Morfydd Clark was very good so this was worth watching for that. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The story follows hospice nurse Maud (portrayed by Morfydd Clark), a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care (Jennifer Ehle), believing she must save her soul.

The movie is fine but does drag a bit. I did like the slowly building tension, though, and thought the ending was good. Not one I’d watch again but am glad I checked out. I recommend it only if you like the more serious type of horrors with good acting. Oh! And was I going crazy or did her face do a weird Soundgarden Black Hole Sun video thing a couple of times when she was having one of her God orgasms?? That was kind of freaky fun.

My Rating: 6.5/10


Black hole sun, won’t you come? And wash away the rain?

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