Friday, September 28, 2018

Something Wicked This Way Comes

A cult hit if there ever was one but so worth a watch!

I think it's because of this movie alone I wish to read all of Ray Bradbury's books, because this is such a fascinating film! The story revolves around two boys living in a small town, who I swear are the only two kids in town, named Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade which is quite possibly the greatest name of a character in the history of fiction. During the autumn days, a mysterious circus appears led by the deliciously devilish Mr. Dark played to ominous perfection by Jonathan Pryce appears, causing several disappearances and the growing suspicion of both the kids and Will's father. It is such a little known movie but I found it to be so good and really well done. There's so much atmosphere, and great camera work, and the story is genuinely intriguing with some good creepy moments. I just never hardly hear people talk about this movie so it was prime material for this year and I think it hit that perfect sweet spot between family friendly and horror which we will dive straight into next week. The kids do very well, though you may find it odd when I say that the real protagonist is Will's father who has to fight his own demons and come to terms with life while helping to rid the town of the circus. But I have no problem telling you Jonathan Pryce is the best part, though he plays a more subdued role till near the end I gotta say that ending act makes up for it bigtime, he brings such an ominous presence and is genuinely intimidating even when he exudes so much class in his performance, I absolutely adore Jonathan Pryce in all his roles. I'm so happy I reviewed this movie, I genuinely really wish for you to seek this movie out whether you just watch it online or get it on Amazon, give it a try because it deserves more exposure and more fans. And I am so thrilled to have hit my 400th review before we hop straight into the most wonderful time of the year. Join me, won't you?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Watcher In The Woods

Yes in the early 80s, Disney, a corporation built around child friendly and wholesome entertainment (for the most part) made a legitamate scary movie. Not a scary scene that might freak your kids out, an entire film designed to scare them. Intrigued? Good.

The Watcher In The Woods is a decent scary movie. Since it's Disney the horror comes from pure atmosphere and chills rather than gore or anything like that, and it works incredibly well. A new family has recently moved to a house for a brief time and already their two young daughters sense something is out there in the woods, leading to the discovery of a girl that mysteriously disappeared 30 years ago. So it's up to our main character Jan to decipher the events and quell the force in the woods that seems to have taken a liking to following her. I must tremendously commend Disney on taking a chance on a movie like this, and they did a decent job to make the audience uncomfortable and creeped out, and it kicks off right when the movie starts with misty shots of the forest leading to quite possibly the most unexpected use of camera tracking in the history of film. Friday The 13th really made this style of camera work popular and whether or not the film took influence from it, the results are just as good or dare I even say better than the Friday The 13th series. And it happens several times, each one different than the last, so it's not just oh there it goes following her through the woods again, it keeps it fresh and thusly keeps you on your toes. There's some great camera work that builds this haunting atmosphere, and there are some points where the movie literally tries to distance itself away from the suspense. There's one scene where the family attends a dirt bike race, and it's almost as if the movie said, "The hell is this bike racing nonsense! This is a horror movie, you're not getting out that easy!" cue creepy cam and a flippin' exploding bike aimed at Jan! Dude, that not only further forces this feeling of dread and that the characters cannot escape this force but also gives enough time for more little kids to have a moment to breathe and not be constantly freaked out. Good job movie! I never seen that before. It's not a movie that will make older people shake in their seats and get paranoid, but they can enjoy and appreciate what the film was trying to do and how they did it. It's for kids from like maybe age 6 to early teens, maybe even teens. And you know what, there kinda needs to be more of that. I've said it before but it bears repeating, there's really not that much scary movies you can show kids and I mean that as in a scary movie targeted for kids. I watched the Universal Monster movies around the age of 7 or 9, even though horror movies were not my bag I still liked them. Plus I was actually allowed to watch them, I couldn't deal with stuff like Nightmare On Elm Street or Texas Chainsaw Massacre at that age nor could I watch it. Which is why when I find movies like this I feel obligated to talk about them, because they could turn out to be fondly remembered classics for kids nowadays. Plus they can be seen as good movies and even appreciated beyond the kids movie label it bears.

And one more before the real game begins. Tune in for my 400th review, Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The House With A Clock In Its Walls

I'd say it was worth the bit of grief I had to put up with.

I really thought I was not going to make it to this movie, but I'm very happy I did. This is a good movie, it's a family movie first with literal fantastic elements, and I genuinely wanted this movie to be a movie kids could watch in the future around Halloween time and it would fit the mood. Thankfully I was correct, it feels a part of that season without it explicitly being October, I think it works incredibly well with the armosphere and world it is trying to potray. So the story follows a young boy named Lewis who recently lost his parents and is taking residence in his uncle Jonathan house where he soon discovers that not only his uncle but his next door neighbor Florence are in fact magic users. The kid learns more and more magic abilities all the while a ticking clock is heard inside the walls. Good story, I like how they handled it, they set up pretty good lore and rules in this world. Anybody can learn magic if you have the right books, it's very Doctor Strange, there are unholy entities in this world, several superstitions are called as facts, this I found really interesting and got me involved. But the absolute best part is easily Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, they make this movie great. Their chemistry is beautiful and they are such fun! Owen Vaccaro also does extremely well as Lewis bringing some good heart and personality to an essential blank slate of a kid, and what really surprised me is they do a good job addressing the death of loved ones. You can have good days, you can have fun, you do form attachments to things they gave you, but sometimes you still are emotionally devastated and still reflect on the time you had with them. In fact there were a few moments where I was like, "Oh wow, that couldn't make it in just a kids movie!" hell they even pull a straight up Monster Squad and I was just as wowed as the first time seeing it in that movie! There is some terrible and crass humor but yhe good outweighs the bad and I did really like this movie. A definite go see if you have kids or just want some magic in your life!

Next time we look at a legit suspense (maybe even horror?) movie from one of the obvious studios for such entertainment. That's right, Disney!!

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Predator

Well that was fun.

Okay good job Shane, I love what you did with this movie. He went straight for an R rated, no bullshit, true sequel to both Predator movies and the first Alien Vs. Predator film. It was really, really damn good. Odd choices were made but it worked mostly. Story is complicated but not in a bad way, there's just a lot that happens, but basically a rogue Predator is being hunted down by another Predator and a whole group of people get looped into it. We got a military side kinda like Predator 2, we get the forming of an odd team that has a lot of comradery like Predator, and we get a rad female scientist that kicks ass like AVP. So it's a real hodgepodge of previous elements from past films which is kinda cool to see. This film ain't afraid to show the gore or say so many cuss words, which is the way it should be. This oddball team of ex-military guys are great together, and the fact I must really commend is these people feel real (albeit very foul mouthed so I guess it still works) like they act like real people in heavy situations and it's really great to see. Granted I wasn't sure what to expect from the movie but I was very pleased with the end results and I'm not sure what they will do next which keeps things interested. I gotta admit though, I thought that ending was going to go waaaay different, cause if it went the way I thought it was going I would have just done lost my damn mind man but the ending was very different and something I didn't see coming. Is this my favorite Predator movie? I can't say for sure. I need to think about it, compare notes, it's very good and very well done, but I feel damn near every Predator movie has the same level of quality though I do like Predator 2 more than the first in some ways. So don't watch one, watch them all (or at least the ones I reviewed). May throw a In Retrospect this weekend before the next week of reviews. One more week till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Predator 2

Honestly I couldn't tell you which one I like better, the first or the second.

Predator 2 seems a logical sequel because it increases the stakes, references the original, and most importantly builds upon the mythos and lore of the Predators. The film takes place in Los Angeles, already an interesting and cool setting for the film to take place in where we meet a group of cops led by our good friend Danny Glover, as they encounter mutilated bodies of gang members and slowly piece together that the killer may be something more than human and has pinned Danny as a special target. Already, a fantastic setting cause you know some guy was like, "Dude, what if a Predator got loose in like New York City, that would be wild!" so it's a logical progression to go from a jungle to an urban jungle and honestly Los Angeles from the 80s to the late 90s was a pretty crazy scene to be sure and this film almost exaggerates it with massive gang member shootouts, pedestrians locked and loaded, and cops barely able to hold the city together. Now it may actually be like that so the film could even be a time capsule of Los Angeles in 1990! But the movie does so much more than that, it's still just as engaging as the first movie and the body count is ridiculous with the gore cranked up big time, our new cast though not as memorable and cool as Arnold's is still really good and come on if Bill Paxton is in your entourage you got something good. Speaking of Bill, I noticed a very Aliens scene in this movie which I never noticed before and yes this is the film that sparked Alien Vs. Predator and yes it is awesome how they do it. But what I especially love is how much Predator action we get, with new gadgets, a new look, we get glimpses into their culture and beliefs through actions, architecture, customs, and even how long the Predators have hunted here on Earth. It's very fascinating stuff that I hope we see more of in the new movie. So yes I am very torn on which film is better, the first was an action movie with a sci-fi twist and the second is like a crime suspense movie with good chunks of horror goodness. So I guess it all depends on what appeals to you more. I may say I like Predator 2 more, but we gotta wait till Friday to know which is the best. Check back for that and we shall see which is truly superior

There I Go Again!

I'm sorry, I forgot to write this yesterday. And the reason is, along with the current movie schedule situation is, I got a good job. It used to just be weekends, so if a new movie came out on the weekend it would have to wait until next week because I would have to be in bed so early just to get to work on time for Saturday and thusly Sunday as well, I would have no time to even catch a evening showtime before the movie came out. I must admit though I severely screwed up cause turns out The Predator hit theaters last Friday. I could have done the Predator movies first and then done the anime films next, hell it might have even worked better that way to segueway from Perfect Blue to what I have planned next week in some respects. So yeah, I'm getting back in the groove of reviews, this happens every year for me man. It's a very complicated life, a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what have yous, there's a lot of strands in the old Duder's head. But I'll do my best, and the sad part is I don't have the same freedom I did last year or even about 4 months ago, cause now if a new movie comes out anyday besides Monday through Friday, it will have to wait. That sucks. I always want to see a movie the day it comes out if it's something I'm looking forward to, plus to get a brand new review out for the masses. I feel like I'm failing at my job to keep people updated on new films and what they should go see. Thankfully though, most of the newer movies I have on my calendar are not on weekends so it should run smoothly I just need to double check on release dates. So that's the current standing on reviews, and by my count we got at least 10 more new movies to see before the year ends. Predator 2 will be up by about noon, just wanted to clear some things up real quick so I'll see you in a bit.

Monday, September 17, 2018


I know, I know. The Predator hit theaters last Friday, I planned around it and that review will get here on Friday. More details tomorrow.

Predator is such an interesting case, I mean it's an action movie first yes, but the fact it juggles action, suspense, with a touch of sci-fi and horror and does it really, really well must be commended because not many movies can do that. So our story introduces us to a crack team of commandos sent to a Central America jungle to rescue hostages but soon discover they are being stalked and hunted by a mysterious figure. I don't think I need to divulge more, because Predator is such a well known and popular film so even if you haven't seen it you probably know a bit about it. And to think though Predator isn't exactly a huge film franchise, the fanbase is strong and has been slowly growing ever since 1987 with no doubt a huge boom in the 90s due to the Alien Vs. Predator franchise that kicked off and has become possibly more popular than either series, and all that came from a well crafted yet humble action/sci-fi film. It's such a good and engaging story, regardless of how many times you've seen it, the enjoyment factor never dwindles but why exactly? Is it the characters and the actors who potrayed them, or perhaps it's just good suspense with a interesting story and great potential for future stories? I can't fully explain how Predator became such a cult film series but I'm glad nevertheless that it's around. I don't think I really need to talk characters cause well, come on. Friggin' Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, and good ol' Bill Duke are so easily recognizable and are great in just about anything! The Predator itself is such a unique design and gave so much information about itself without really revealing anything about it's culture or insight and I actually really like that. There is a lot of mystery in this movie and it works very well. The soundtrack though comprising very few tracks does a great service to the movie and really amps that adrenaline and uneasiness throughout. I'm very very happy I finally get a chance to go through the Predator movies, and I find it kinda funny how Shane Black one of the actors from this movie is directing the brand new one that just came out, I look forward to seeing what he brought to the table. But we got Predator 2 before we hit that, so we'll see if it outdoes the first or merely give us another good movie.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Perfect Blue

What?? What??! Are you friggin' kidding me? Why can't I stop laughing??

I can't even with this movie guys. Okay so Perfect Blue is worthy of the genre psychological horror, it is horrific and yes I would dare say it's psychotic. Centering around a singer turned actress, Mima who I....guess is losing her mind after several incidents have occured though honestly she seemed a little out there from the get-go, leading to one jumbled, unnerving, disorientating and yet great movie. I'm at a loss for words. There is no doubt this movie needs to be seen multiple times to figure it out, cause it's like a murder mystery mixed with about 80 grams of cracked out delusions. It's very well done, and can easily leave anyone uncomfortable and even questioning their own sanity. I'm quite honestly unsure if I'm even writing this review, but let's just say I am for now. I could be in my bathtub now mumbling nursery rhymes and tapping my feet against the walls for all I know. That's the power this movie has, it's kinda hard not to get into it. You want to play detective, you want to unravel this mystery, you want to discern fiction from reality and yet you yourself get lost in the labyrinth of these events and characters. This is how you do it Killing Of A Sacred Deer!! Like sweet Jesus what is it like in your head Satoshi Kon? Now I know people have said Black Swan is the live action remake of Perfect Blue, but seeing as I have not seen Black Swan I cannot say for certain, but if you did and you enjoyed it I do recommend Perfect Blue. It does incredibly well in engaging and unsettling you, with really good animation, a cerebral plot, plenty of twists and shock, and I dare you to watch this and go "Bah, that anime stuff is just for kids!". I need to get my hands on this movie and watch it. It has quite an amazing message too, don't get too involved in a certain aspect of your life and obsess over it, you be you and you won't have anything to worry about. Which I think is what the ending was trying to convey.....but I'm not too sure, and I lost my train of thought. I'm gonna sleep on this, and hopefully still be me in the morning.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Kiki's Delivery Service

Oh wow, I just realized there's two movies reviewed this week that involve witches. Didn't even think about it.

You know it's funny, I've heard about this particular Studio Ghibli movie more than any other for the longest time. They had a little trailer for it on one of my old tapes, can't quite remember which one but for a good 15 years or more I've heard about this film. And only just until today I haven't seen it! I've heard some people say it's one of Studio Ghibli's lesser quality productions but I could not disagree more. Kiki's Delivery Service is such a quaint, charming, and lovely film that centers around the life of a young witch setting out from home and living a life of her own independently at the age of just 13. And that's kinda it for basic plot but it's such an interesting idea I don't even care. Not every film needs to have a complex or serious plot, it just shows the life of this young witch! That's interesting, that's cool, I greatly enjoy this movie just for that fact! It's just a sweet little film, with the same quality animation and voice acting as the other films Disney has brought over to the States from Japan. That's Kirsten Dunst as Kiki and she is a joy to watch, one thing Studio Ghibli never fails to achieve is the emotions and personality of children. She is such a nice kid, though she has moments of disappointment, attitude, and even, kinda for lack of a better word depressed. But she pulls through and still has confidence and love in her heart. Gah, the more I think about this movie the more I just friggin' love it. The animation especially during flight is amazing, I have no idea how they did it but they simulated such fluent and natural flying for a girl on a broom and I've just never seen that anywhere as good as it is here. I'm so happy I went out on a limb and bought this movie, it was completely worth it and I could not urge you more to see this movie even if I bought you a copy and watched it with you, snacks and all. Hell it even got me choked up at the end, though nothing really sad or anything happened. I'm pretty sure that's called Miyazaki Syndrome. But anyway, excellent film, 4 stars check it out, and before the week is out we go a little...darker.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Mary And The Witch's Flower

Alright, and I'm back. Some stuff has happened but I'm glad to be back regardless and we are kicking off with some more animation straight from Japan.

I must admit I rented Mary And The Witch's Flower months before now when I'm writing the review. I noticed they had a special screening of it at a theater in town, but I never saw it. So when I had a free rental at Redbox I decided to check it out for fun, and I really enjoyed it. And time hasn't changed my opinion, this is a really really good movie, the breakout film of Studio Ponoc with animators straight out of Studio Ghibli. And yes, the film has a heavy Studio Ghibli style but it doesn't feel....ripped off or trying to emulate the art direction. It's done with love and care in all departments, and I actually did come to a sort of revelation while I watched this movie a second time. I'm never getting tired of animation of any kind for the rest of my life because, you can always see the most beautiful and excellent environments. You can't always see a massive golden full moon or a magnificent sky of clouds at sunset in real life, but you can as Bob Ross always said, the most unreal scenery and beautiful landscapes you've ever seen.  You can do so much with animation, and create such beautiful scenery. So visuals are outstanding, but how's the story? Well for an almost 2 hour film it goes at a pretty leisure pace, even when the action picks up there's still quiet moments. So the story involves a young girl named Mary who recently has moved into a new town, and soon discovers a magical flower that imbues her with magical abilities and the discovery of a magical college by the name of Endor (Yes, I checked the spelling and that is how it is spelled.), but the magical abilities only last for so long and the higher ups want the flower for their own desires thrusting our heroine to stop them. Basic but interesting story, gorgeous animation, very fine voice acting including some big hitters like Jim Broadbent and Kate Winslet, and a promising beginning to a new studio. Definite recommendation, happy to be back, and we got a Studio Ghibli classic coming up! Until next time, Dude out.