Friday, July 12, 2024

Longlegs

Well that was fuggin' weeeeird!




About as weird as the trailer which caught my interest quick before it went off the rails and it gave me the heebie jeebies so why not go see it? I'm a bit bewildered, not too sure what to make of it, but I'm happy I saw it. Cause the movie starts like your typical psychological crime drama, flat out compared to Silence Of The Lambs in the trailer, but as we get nearer the end it just gets out there man and there are plenty a twist and turn few would catch so you never can guess how it ends. It is a sublimely shot film I'll say that for sure, switching from 8mm film to more standard modern cinematography, it has an uncanny ability to get under your skin though the movie isn't abrupt or in your face with it's horror. Sure there are instances of music stinger fueled jumpscares but a good majority of the film is silent with no score and just natural soundscape but when it hits, creepy as shit and you will feel that anxiety along with your pulse rise so sound design is excellent as well. The characters are a limited cast of only really 4 parts and it's hard to get a handle on them. Lee is our protagonist, a young FBI agent who is on the case of a satanic Zodiac style serial killer that has submerged ties with her past. Maika Monroe is really good in this and some may say her acting is subdued but I would call it more intensely subtle, she can show the emotion and fear when necessary, and it took me forever to figure out why I know that face. I'm an idiot! It's Jay from It Follows. Wild. I know a good bit of hubbub was made about Nic Cage being in a horror movie and his appearance is hush-hush but you'd be surprised how early you see him, and he's not only unrecognizable but he brings the crazy. That special kind of crazy where you laugh but you're still freaked the hell out. It's great! Batshit plot surrounding him to where even I'm questioning if it just goes straight out of the bounds of reality. It seems like it and there's supernatural stuff at play but it isn't focused on intentionally. It's supposed to be a WTF element which makes it scarier. The unknown is terrifying. I'm here for it! It's a wild ride and unnerving for sure, I dare almost say the real horror is subconscious if I was more of a snob than I already am. It's worth seeing regardless of at theater or at home, and I can recommend it. I give it 3 stars, 8/10! Now for the fun goodies next week.

Friday, July 5, 2024

Maxxxine

Not fully what I expected but I'll take it!



It certainly paid off watching all the movies chronologically because this movie wears it's references on it's sleeve and I feel caps off the trilogy just fine. Set in 1985 we catch up with Maxine in Hollywood California as she is starting to make the jump to feature films but a blackmail plot centering on her bloodsoaked past is about to blow the lid, and on those occasions well...it's time to make plans. Ever so slight misdirect in the trailers though, it kinda shoves the Night Stalker angle down your throat but it doesn't bear much semblance on the plot, more as a background incident that helps set the stage which the movie was awesome at, it gets you in the mindset and gives a brief overview of what was going down in that corner of history. The soundtrack, the fashion, the world events, and all those small details that an old ass nerd like me can pick up. At almost 2 hours without credits the film moves at a brisk pace showing the transition of Maxine from porno star to movie star, and the mental state she is in. I mean obviously if you survive the events of X you're gonna have some PTSD in some way, so I appreciate how much the filmmakers tied everything in a pretty little bow for us fans. I'm not certain if the film crew shot on proper 1980s film stock or cameras but it had that particular look about it while keeping the modern techniques as with Pearl. I do ever so slightly sense this movie may not grab everyone how the last two movies did, but really the quality has barely shrunk. Mia is still a great lead and getting to see her achieve movie stardom gives her enough material to work with, plus she's just a fucking mental badass at points like my God! Girl has got issues but those moments were my cup of tea. It really is her film but the supporting cast of characters do fine work, from her agent played by Giancarlo (still the man), to her video store metal friend played by Moses Sumney who had my vote for best character, to just the messenger private eye of the blackmailer played by Kevin Bacon, some shine brighter than others but all did very well. It doesn't truly fit that horror vibe as the others which may contribute further to it being the black sheep of the series, it fits more a mystery drama but it got no problem showing some visceral detailed gore. I'll admit straight up to you this is the weakest entry in the trilogy, but it's still getting a good ass score! If you're a fan you'll no doubt enjoy it a great deal and if not you can walk away entertained regardless. I give it 3.5 stars, 8.5/10! A very good week, and next week will be limited to one review but I got some shows coming up for you so I'll need the time. By all means give it a watch and let me know which is your favorite, if I had to pick I'd probably go with X myself. So be safe, stay fit, stay sharp, make good decisions and I'll see you in a week!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

In Retrospect: X

Still pretty friggin' good!



I feel so justified doing a little marathon this week and watching these movies again! X dude, X. That shit is mm, just right. It's certainly more eye opening and even more appreciated if you watch it after Pearl. So I guess the paralyzingly fierce breakdown smile made Howard stick around for about 60 odd years, and it is so damn interesting to see that shift with these characters go from mostly innocent young lovers torn apart by the Great War to flat out serial killer married couple, it is just wow! Despite the heavy prosthetics used for Pearl and Howard you get a lot of emotion and readable facial acting, and I still fucking stand and applaud the movie Citizen Kane style for just taking the time and humanizing them. It would have been easier done than said to just make them a creepy old murdering odd couple, but we get just a smidge of insight into their lives and relationship and it makes the film a cut above the rest in my opinion. It's shot with love and affection in that 70s style but never loses it's modern cinematography footing, there's some good shots and great use of color from time to time. I am rather curious what the overall visual flair will be for Maxxxine, cause Pearl was Wizard Of Oz as all get out, X had more than a healthy dose of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I have no clue what the overarching homage will be but I'm excited. Hands down best scene of the movie still to this day for me is that brutal first murder, it is gruesomely practical but just the music and the lighting and the dance....whoa man. Not only did it send shivers down my spine in the bestest way possible, but there were tears welling up in my eyes and I cannot explain for the life of me why they did, I had no clue murder could be so beautiful. That's a weird sentence to say but I felt how I felt. It is goddamn art in my opinion from the neck stab to the van engine being shut off. There was a vision to this in all aspects, not to outshine or to reinvent the wheel, but to do it to the best of their ability. You wanna know what the one single friggin' thing I did NOT like about this movie was? I hated the posters and promotional images. Like really? That's all you had for the majority was a still frame of Jenna Ortega mid scream?? It sucks and I never liked it and I saw it way too often. You know an image that might catch my attention? That freaky ass silhouette of Pearl carrying a pitchfork like some wraith-like witch, that is awesome! And I'll level with you right here right now, I forgot what the ending was. I didn't know who was gonna live or die, so I was along for the ride one last time. I know, it's a little obvious but I had a lapse in mental faculties which let's be honest ain't nothing new here! Good times be had, I am never not in the mood to listen to some 70s baby making music, let's flipping do this Friday!

Monday, July 1, 2024

In Retrospect: Pearl

You absolute madman Ti!



Sweet friggin' lord this has lost none of it's potency in 2 years time, and I haven't seen it since it hit theaters mainly because I knew this day would come when the end would be near for this trilogy though I'll admit it hasn't left my memory that's for damn certain. But on the rewatch and knowing everything that occurs, I did get more out of it. I strongly believe a theater going or really just any first time watch experience is a reactionary experience, and the more you see a film the more you can read into it. The story of Pearl and how it comes to pass by the time end credits roll is simultaneously relatable and also just disturbing, because of how her character is potrayed you want the best for her in life even when you know it's just not. I'm not gonna get all psychoanalyzing on this or anything, but I get it I even sort of get why she pitchforks people, and the performance given is still the high bar if I've ever seen one. Mia my God, the raw emotion we get out of her here is truly striking and I can't wait to see what she brings to the table in Maxxxine! I did get a hell of a lot more out of her parents in this movie, not that they were bad the first time around but getting a chance to dig into just the state of mind showed so much more. The mom is a lot to handle and it does tip toe into slight Carrie territory at times, but the perspective of her and her life with a humanizing moment does make you feel at least a bit sad that she gets torched and kicked down some stairs. Likewise for the dad who big time props need to go to that actor, man didn't have a line and had to just body language that part and was so good at it, you can see the heartbreak and fear in his eyes when things go south and it packs a punch. I also just appreciate the fact it's a horror movie that doesn't really turn into a horror movie until about the halfway point, it's a slow escalation of events but that doesn't mean the suspense isn't present beforehand. You're almost constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and she takes an axe to someone's face, it's very nicely done on the pacing side of things. Will fully admit though I thought the whole umm...scarecrow scene was later on, naw that weird ass shit was not even at the 20 minute mark. Granted you have my respect and bewildering admiration for not only going that far but finding an actress game enough to do it, so fair play to you ya buncha' weirdos. I've seen stranger, but not much! I am ridiculously curious what people think of this movie if it's the first one they see, most of us had the benefit of seeing X first so I can't imagine what people's impression is just going into this blind. Do they love it or hate it? Might need to research that. Ending shot still fucking floors me, not since Malcolm Mcdowell staring straight through my soul at the end of Caligula have I seen a final shot quite like that, and yeah that was an experience in the theater I can tell you that right now! It is an offbeat film but one I still very much enjoy and am happy to have watched again, the score remains the same with a 9/10, and now we travel onwards to X which again I haven't seen since opening day so this is a whole ass trip so stick around and I'll see you Wednesday!

Friday, June 28, 2024

A Quiet Place Day One

Okay what the fuck, it was actually good??



In fact if I'm being completely honest with you, it's...kinda amazing. I'm almost stunned shitless writing that but it's true! Like every single aspect just about is exponentially improved over the last two films, now the only thing I truthfully want from this series is I wanna know where and how the aliens got here to Earth. Probably the only person who wants that but I'm curious damn it! But the story here and more importantly how that story is told, if you cut out the monsters this could be a hardcore heartfelt drama! I'm so not even kidding, this film sucker punched me right in the feels and I was so on board before even the first 5 minutes. We follow Sam a young woman who unfortunately is in Hospice care when the event occurs as she makes the decision to trek to Harlem for pizza, finally a goal and direction(!), and she eventually meets a young man named Eric who I think is pretty firmly on the spectrum as they sneak and avoid the creatures in the city that never sleeps. It may seem quite humorous that the endgame is New York pizza and it is a little funny but shit, that is something I can 1000% get behind and the character moments we get from point A to B almost at times make you forget you are watching A Quiet Place. I'm so not even kidding, this is an emotionally investing film and I tell you now without witness and without reward that this damn movie made me cry. The tears welled up in my eyes and a few rolled down my cheeks, I won't spoil it but it was ridiculously sweet and endearing. I can't remember the last time I saw horror movie characters I cared about so strongly, just the performances from Lupita (I love that girl to bits!) and Joseph (whoa dude you were good!) my God they were acting their hearts out here. Marvellous news everyone! The cat is fine, in fact this was one of the most intuitive cats I've ever seen in storytelling and knowing cats can't be trained at flippin' all, congrats to the film crew for making it happen! Shock of all shocks though, no stupid nonsense to behold in this movie it's pretty rock solid from start to finish. Either that or I was so emotionally invested and entertained that I didn't notice. Perhaps I've jumped dimensions once more because this is unbelievable. It was so damn good, no scratch that it was great! I'm still reeling from that fact but whoever it was that answered my prayer for a good movie, just know I said thanks and I'll buy you lunch! Pizza on me. No horseshit Jack. See it, just go see it. Maybe bring some earplugs though cause the theater I went to see it at every loud noise was like a fucking landmine going off, shockwave included, and the movie indulges in some jumpscare tactics so brace for impact if you go over the weekend! So yeah all time high for the week, two big thumbs up from me, 4 stars, 9/10! And we get to revisit and experience the end of one of the strangest yet grand horror trilogies next week.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

A Quiet Place Part 2

It probably didn't help I was in an angry mood before sitting down to watch this.



But at the exact same time, I have walked into many a film on a wide range of emotions and the movie (depending on the subject matter) can make me glad or sad. I'm still not 100% behind this film series yet it kinda gave me what I wanted in the first movie. So we pick up literally after the end of the first film with our family unit leaving the farm and making tracks to...somewhere. They don't really have a goal or destination until maybe halfway through, and eventually the group splits with the mom Evelyn hunkering down in an underground safe room while Regan treks out into the world to use her feedback weapon to even the playing field. I think my biggest issue with this series thus far besides the family who still makes brain aneurysm type STUPID decisions, is just the simple fact that there's no...there's no plot! There's no goal, there's no beginning/middle/end where you want to see where it goes. This works so much better as an idea than a film, these lanky ass aliens crash on earth and they hunt and kill through sound alone because they are blind. That's like a short story, not one let alone two feature films! Now maybe I just don't get these semi or full on apocalyptic, earth shattering, survival heavy stories, I just don't watch that shit. I don't have a problem with them, but they are far down the list on the types of films and shows I watch. It's really just down to the lack of story and characters why I'm not too keen on this. Direction and cinematography, is good and looks great at instances! Acting wise, pretty friggin' solid and these people are acting their asses off. Effects, pretty much on par with the first film but those were still good effects. Sound design is damn near flawless, how it swaps from chaotic sound to whoomp unearthly silence is spot on. The new bits we get in terms of the aliens and the worldbuilding are fine additions. But my dear sweet baby Moses there is the epitome of contrived shit in this script, I can scarcely believe it. There is no, zero, nada, zilch, objectifiable reason why these things happen! You know why? Because the fucking script said so. Also on that same topic I almost feel they fiddled with how the whole sound thing works, maybe I'm wrong but I swear in the first movie just any modicum of sound, didn't have to even be loud was game over, but here it kinda ping pongs back and forth where it has to be loud loud like a scream or something breaking to attract the creatures and then like a door hinge squeaks a bit than all hell is about to break loose. Now I know sound is unique to the proximity of you and the environment but I just feel they got away with so much more noise in this movie than previously established. This is an aggravating movie series but not in an overt way, it chips away bit by bit, just fucking picking at you to where you start questioning things that shouldn't be a part of the equation and your blood vessels contract in your head and pretty soon you need some acetaminophen. However! The movie gets points for doing what I wanted it to do, Regan out alone trying to survive. A deaf girl surrounded by sound hunting monsters. And even though she is accompanied by someone, Cillian Murphy has a very good yet albeit brief relationship with her, this kind of neurotic guy who doesn't know Sign is helping this girl make it to her next destination. I like that! I was having a good time with that storyline, it wasn't perfect but I'll damn well take it! Didn't like the ending though, same shit as the last movie, whoop-de-doo! We made like two steps of progress in a 1,000 mile marathon. God you have no idea how much I'm holding out for Day One, we're away from the idiots and we got a new cast, new location, it's interesting to see in depth how this cataclysm began, I will fucking torch the goddamn theater and raze this movie to absolute ashes if anything happens to the cat, please please let it be good! 2.5 stars, 6/10, slight improvement and I'll see you Friday.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

BONUS: Rite Here Rite Now

A surprise to be sure but a welcome one.



I have no issue stating upfront this whole week would have sucked royally had this movie not come out and I went to go see it. Sooo...how do I explain Ghost? Well it's a swedish band that easily has the catchiest songs I've heard quite possibly in my life (aside from Black Sabbath) and almost all of them focus on Satan, but don't let that deter you if you are religious. The band doesn't take themselves seriously and have fun with it all tongue in cheek style, but they take the musical quality very seriously. It's also the only band I know of that has it's own lore, now I'm not talking pseudonyms like Quorthon or Starchild, or like easter eggs on the album cover, I mean they have a mythos that has been woven and expanded upon since 2010. Centering on the frontman and lead singer Papa Emeritus a Pope like figure with several iterations, and the bandmates themselves hidden in anonymity as Nameless Ghouls craft rocking and effortlessly ear worming songs. The movie focuses more on the music, with pepperings of plot (though it's still greatly substantial to us hardcore fans) taking place the last night of their tour in Los Angeles. This is perfect for me because I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to go to a ritual so this covers that! Plus the overall production taping the concert was excellent, I'll admit the editing was that highly kinetic fast but sharp style so it was hard to get a full wide shot of the stage and grasp the atmosphere, but I feel the filmmakers did just fine with the camera placement and direction, also props to the road crew who made it all happen on tour, and in my limited experience of watching recorded performances I can't complain. I truthfully did expect a good mix or even more emphasis on storyline but the bits we did get, showed off the humor that the band is well known for and even dare I say beautifully introspective. Easily the best part of the movie is Emeritus talking to his biological Papa (my favorite of them all just for the record) about very existential topics, who runs the show, what happens after you die, typical mysteries of life stuff but the response he gets back is nothing short of wise and it's a belief I've held for a long time and has only been reinforced since seeing this. It's very insightfully written and worded to where anyone can grasp it, to crudely summarize you can't worry about the past or fret over the future and what matter is right here right now. It's not in your face but that message pervades the whole film, to just live to the best of your ability. It certainly made my heart soar during those parts. And yeah I'll admit, a tear was shed during one of the songs so hey let's talk about them. The setlist for the concert was very very good, representing all 5 albums the group has released with a good portion of my favorites like Miasma, Respite On The Spitalfields, Call Me Little Sunshine, Kiss The Go-Goat, and If You Have Ghost which was the standout live performance for me hands down and got me emotional. But holy mackerel was it completely awesome to hear all those tracks with proper theater sound equipment. Feet were tapping, lyrics were lip synced, it was a good time even though the atmosphere of the screening room was more movie than concert but fun regardless. It was great to see so many people decked out in merch and having a real good time with the film. I mean it's about as niche as you can get when you break it down, but Ghost has a lot of fans worldwide and continues to grow today. Hell I've only been a fan since October of 2022 but it's top two bands for me! So I can't recommend it for everyone, I don't think I can even recommend it to a new fan just starting out to avoid confusion on the plot parts, I just wanted an excuse to gush about some great music and give another review to make up for last week. I know some fans would question the existence of a recorded concert packaged as a movie but considering I had to wait about 4 to 5 years to own The Phantom Of The Opera musical on DVD, that point is moot. I give it 4 stars, 9/10!