Friday, September 30, 2022

Hocus Pocus 2

Wishlist approved!

Alright, made it to dawn and perhaps the witching hour has passed me by unscathed so let's talk sequels! I know this had a lot of anticipation and years worth of fan craving, so how does it all stack up in my novice eyes? I think I honestly like it more than the first. So it's been 29 years (sweet Jesus) since the Sanderson sisters plagued Salem as we are introduced to our three main characters, Becca, Izzy, and Cassie who are teenage friends and are kinda duped into resurrecting the Sandersons' once more and have to deal with the problem with some very appreciative and nice twists thrown into it. Already our protoganists have a fair bit more to do, and I was kinda surprised how much they got right with modern day witchercraft cause Becca and Izzy frequent a proper magic shop so they're super familiar with the history and items of magic. The crystals, the herbs, the candles, how to charge items with magic, a great attunement to nature, I severely must applaud the movie for that! So it's pretty neat to see two covens go at it and use tricks of the trade to best one another. I feel a lot more attention is put upon Winnie in this movie, not that Sarah and Kathy are wasted they still do fine work and Kathy is still my favorite of the three, but Bette really has some acting moments and yes, several musical numbers to bask in. I quite honestly forgot that we were going to get backstory to the sisters becoming witches, and I know they couldn't have spent half the movie on it but man I genuinely wish we got more of it considering their witch mother we only briefly meet and I know how much she is revered by them in the first movie. It's one of the very few things I can complain about. They throw their hat just a teeny notch in the nostalgia tripping but thankfully it's brief and used to better know the characters. Regardless, we get Billy back and I shall now do a wee happy dance because he's the best. I feel he gets more screentime to and God bless it I wouldn't mind for a second if it was just Billy and the magic shop owner Gilbert trying to deal with the ladies for almost 2 hours. The production is very good, when I watched the trailer I was just like man this looks good! The fog filled streets at night, the quiet forest while the moon is shining bright, the Halloween festival full of light, I dare say it's pretty tight. Obviously the effects for the magic have improved and yes the book weirds me out a fair bit still, so well done on that. And okay, this is just my nerd ass going on a tangent but I seriously got some Star Wars sequels flashbacks here. When the witches come back it's all super dark with light strobes and eerie sound design and I was like.....Palpatine have they somehow ressurected you again? Winnie flat out does the super mega ultra lightning shoot into the sky and random lightning strikes all over Salem like on Exegol. They even do the friggin' lightsaber flies straight to Rey instead of Kylo, except it's Book! I love that stuff man. Anywho! The comedy still worked for me but I will say it didn't make me laugh as hard or frequent as the first. But the entertainment factor is still very good and I am happy I watched it, as a heavy casual viewer of this newly crowned series I enjoyed it and would watch it again with family or friends during the season. 3.5 stars, 7.5/10, and now I just have the urge to listen to The Witch's Ghost by The Hex Girls, oh bollocks the magic is still on me!! FRICK! Well hell if the cosmos want me to be a magical man, then I shall be a magic Dude. See you in October.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hocus Pocus

Yeah, it took a minute didn't it?

I would like to go formally on record and say I was never a fan of Hocus Pocus, not to say I hated it and perhaps was a bit harsh on it as I got older when in actuality I'm pretty sure the last time I saw this movie I wasn't even a teenager yet, so clearly I was not one of the many who are like, aw man it ain't October until I watch Hocus Pocus. It just wasn't that big in my life and really, hand over my heart, I haven't had a traditional viewing of any movie or show during Halloween time until well in my 20s. So watching it with mostly new eyes again, how was it? I liked it, I think it's a fun little premise, no shock the witches are the best part (but not my favorite part), I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did and the rose tinted glasses would fly off and it would be very dated and average at best, but it was good! Main characters are a bit ehhh, with Max and his young sister Dani who just moved to Salem during October as they try to get acclimated to new surroundings, they soon meet up with Max's crush Allison who kinda kickstarts this whole ressurection of 3 witches famous in the town, even though yes Max was a blockhead and lit up a magic candle. Whoops. And shazam! 3 witch sisters, Winnie, Sarah, and Mary arise to devour children's souls and let the good times roll. For a movie set in 1993 it isn't terribly dated and almost has a timeless look to it which no doubt helps in the sustaining of this movie's lifeforce for the past almost two decades. So...yeah, let's just talk about the witches. I barely know where to start. I don't think I had a favorite when I was young and I knooow Sarah Jessica Parker being all boy crazy as usual, yeah yeah I'm not that transparent, but friggin' Kathy Najimy cracks me the hell up in this movie! I don't know what it is but that woman had me guffawing and cackling throughout, but that is no admonsishing statement for Bette and Sarah. The sheer enjoyment and relish seeps from the screen every second they are on screen, they are having the times of their lives, and they are super funny and entertaining to behold! I know for a fact if we didn't have these three lady women in these parts, no way would this movie be so fondly remembered. Performances for those witches, 12/10! Easy! Kinda shocked me how this movie is a teeny touch dark, I mean you literally see the witches hanged but not in a gruesome manner, constant and blatant exclamations of hell and Satan, that book euughhh....heebie jeebies! That book freaks me out more than the Necronomicon from Evil Dead, still disgustingly bound in human flesh with gnarly stitch work, I think it's the eye man. That eye is a real eye, you cannot prove me otherwise, it looks so real. Props to them on the effects work in general truth be told! And I gotta say even for a Disney movie they made the appearance of a talking cat work pretty well in terms of the story, credit where credit is due. Best part, drumroll please, my guy Doug Jones as Billy. Always was my favorite part of the movie, still is, the man was robbed of precious screentime in my opinion, I love him. I'll admit, when the idea popped into my head we could see Billy again in Hocus Pocus 2 I flipped the hell out, I lost my shit, make it happen! That's my one wishlist hope for that movie, do not screw with my emotions damn it! You may be wondering, well what about our human characters? They're adequate. No fault of course by the actors, in fact I felt Thora Birch was the best of that trio they just don't got much to play with so they're just kinda ehhhh, okay. The visuals are really nice, the acting is super solid, the story is neat, the effects are well done, it's good but I wouldn't deem it great and I'm on the fence in terms of "Halloween classic" but I'll lean towards Halloween staple for sure. It is kinda weird though man, a lot and I do mean a LOT of witch stuff has cropped up since I touched on The Lords Of Salem, not just in reviews either. I literally watched Haxan before this movie, songs about witches have creeped into my mind, it seems like witchcraft has seeped into my life a good bit culminating today that at the library I work at we got a new book, The Book Of Practical Witchcraft. Coincidences have passed, they're after me. I'm gonna have fever dreams tonight of enchanting serenades and potion making. Fun fact true fact before I go, the male equivalent of a witch is still called a witch and not necessarily a warlock. Big misconception. 3 stars, 7.5/10, I'll let you know if I see daybreak tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Lords Of Salem

Uh, wow okay.

Would not fully recommend this movie to individuals who are hardcore believers in the Judeo-Christian religions, like this movie gets deep into some occult shit and it sure as hellfire does not hold back. So our story follows a radio station host Heidi who is gifted a mysterious unknown record by a group called the Lords Of Salem, and pretty damn soon after that it tailspins into a visually rich, disturbing, and plain what the f*** kind of movie as she is haunted by ghosts and demons. Speaking as someone who is not religious by any stretch, this movie still unnerved me because it starts off pretty simply, you get your spooky figures in rooms, a few nightmares, there's this apartment you shouldn't go into and then it clobbers you with freaky imagery, blood soaked effects, effectively unearthly hellish creatures, and LOTS of nudity. I'm genuinely shocked this got an R rating, you get so many full frontal shots, and not just of lady women, I was seriously wondering if this got an NC-17 but I suppose this is the most hardcore R movie I've ever seen. It takes a tiny dash of Rosemary's Baby with Heidi apparently being targeted to become the anti-virgin Mary and birthing the Antichrist, this movie could not give a shit less about your feelings and morals, and showcases the...less earth loving and spiritual Wiccans and goes straight for the jugular of Satan worshipping foul witches. Which is very true of every religion, there will always be extremes on either sides of the spectrum, you will have hateful and shrieking nuts of Christianity but also very lovely and respectful Christians too. Same for Satanism, people view it as a liberating force of the self and a critique of how the church operates on many levels, but also there are people who cannonball into the pool of demon worship, black arts, and bile fused rage against religious symbols. This film deals with the latter, which sucks because I quite like our main characters. This is gonna sound a bit weird but Heidi who is played by Sheri Moon Zombie, legit looks like Jamie Lee Curtis but the weird part is she looks like a mix of Jamie and Laurie from Rob Zombie's Halloween series. But in all seriousness, her performance is good, she doesn't have to say much and indeed some people could view it as a more subdued performance, but I found she handled just the mindf*** of the situation and troubled emotions super well. She's just a likeable girl and of course you don't want bad things to happen to her but they do and thus is the tragedy. Jeff Daniel Phillips is more a background character, the film undoubtedly focuses primarily on Sheri, but the friendship is felt between the two and I really appreciated that emotional scene when they talk to each other on the phone, I can't explain it but that really struck me and I was just like, damn that was a good emotional scene! Great to see Judy Geeson again, she fit wonderfully into this movie and has that presence about her which makes her acting all the more effective. Bruce Davison, I was rooting for that guy, as a writer investigating the occurences and has some experience with historical witches, a very affable character to have in a veryyy gloom and doom movie. Shoutout of course to my man Ken Foree, I love you my man. Shame we couldn't have him punching witches and saying motherf***er but the day will never come when I'm not happy to see him in a movie no matter the size of the role. Production wise it's very solid, actually being shot in Salem Massachusetts and it does look pretty grand with that familiar exquisite fall atmosphere. It gets artsy, it flat out has imagery of Georges Melies' A Trip To The Moon, it features Requiem not once but twice, and the shocking imagery is a combo of hits near the end. My snob side is satisfied and reeling from the horror. I don't think this scenery is going to crawl out from under my skin for a few days, it's wedged in deep man. Wild ass movie, effectively creepy and disturbing, I give it 3 stars, 7/10. And we get more witches for the week, I'm pretty sure it's no secret at this point as to what comes next but why spoil a surprise for someone? By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Munsters

It's cute, don't be mean.

I was surprised like everybody else to hear Rob Zombie's next film would be an adaptation of The Munsters, and once I saw the trailer I was interested. I was looking forward to seeing it in theaters and was sideswiped by the Netflix and home video release instead, but I grabbed a DVD of it and so here we are on the verge of the most wonderful time of the year, and I gotta say I really liked this movie. Bizarre to see a Rob Zombie movie rated PG, but the whole movie is a bit on the weird side. The story more or less is how Herman met Lily and their eventual move to Mockingbird Lane, it's not a heavily plot centric film, it's a brightly colored, cute, fun piece of fluff movie and I adore it. In my own personal experience I've liked The Munsters a good deal, and while I undoubtedly am a much bigger fan of The Addams Family I can't disregard it by a long shot. I feel you can tell Rob Zombie does have a lot of affinity for the show, and without question gives this movie it's own flair and style. It is about as colorful if not maybe even more so than 1960s TV, containing that visual nuance that Rob Zombie has implemented in his films and music videos. The cast I felt did very well, taking mannerisms and the foundations of the characters but still making it their own and were pretty friggin' funny too. Jeff Daniel Phillips isn't trying to be Fred Gwyne who is a treasure and born to play Herman, but the guy has comedic timing and is completely believable as this character and if nothing else the man has my respect for wearing those platform shoes no matter what outfit he is wearing. Commitment. Sheri Moon Zombie is....I think this is honestly my most favorite of the parts she plays, Lily is beyond cute, funny, and charming I cannot fully express in words how much I was just head over heels for her in this. Speaking of which, the relationship between Herman and Lily is incredibly endearing and sweet, you can feel that immovable devotion to one another and it's very I guess uplifting if that's the right word. I mean it by Gawd rekindled some love in my icy black heart. Daniel Roebuck is awesome as The Count, and he had some giant shoes to fill after Al Lewis who man, I could praise that fella's devotion and love to Grampa Munster for a long whiles, and it was almost like seeing him back in the role one last time. It was my biggest reservation but the highest point of enjoyment for me, The Count is still my favorite part to this day. I actually forgot Sylvester McCoy was in this, so I lost my marbles for a brief moment getting to see my favorite classic Doctor Who flexing those honed comedy muscles throughout. I think the most underrated performance for me is Richard Brake as Dr. Wolfgang, many people are probably gonna write him off as scenery chewing over the top to the max, naw man. He is having the time of his life playing this melodramatic sophisticated doctor, and I'm just gonna say it I legit saw a bit of Vincent Price in his perfromance. I don't care, I meant what I said and said what I meant, the guy is great. Very lovely of course as always to see Cassandra Peterson even if it was just near the end, I'd recognize that voice anywhere and bless her for countless years to come. I know some people are going to really trash the production side of things, but I really honestly digged it. The colors are so rich and bold almost a neon saturated version of a Hammer film, the costumes and monster effects are quite good for a Netflix movie that probably didn't have a massive budget, the editing and cinematography are niche but fun, and the references. Whooo now! Boy howdy let me tell you! The second I saw the Universal logo from the 30s start the movie, I knew I was in for a trip. The Universal Monsters get some love here and rightfully so, all the clips and characters that pop up made the fanboy in me applaud. I know I'm gonna rattle off my mom's ear cause she really wanted to see this movie as well, so I'm just gonna be like oh yeah that's Nosferatu who was played by Max Shreck in 1922, Rob knows his audience and knows what we like. Which brings me to the point of the fact I know this movie is going to be so devisive and split down the middle for people, I think the fans of Zombie's works are gonna appreciate it and embrace the easy going, light, goofy fun atmosphere of the movie while others are just gonna unnecessarily assassinate it behind a shed and shove it in a woodchipper. Oh it's stupid, it's not funny, it has no plot, and so on and so forth. You don't make a movie that looks and proceeds like this unintentionally, it's meant to be a bright, enjoyable, silly piece of spooky goodness that you can throw on as a background movie for a Halloween party or watch with young kids and get some laughs out of. I was a grumpy bastard today but as I was making some dinner, sipping a red viscous fluid out of my skull glass, listening to some Ghost, and settled down to watch this movie I was a pretty happy camper and we're ending the night on a high note. Objectively it's maybe a 7/10, but for me I give it 4 stars, 8.5/10! And we got another Rob Zombie movie tomorrow that hint hint, nudge nudge, has some connective tissue to what other reviews come out this week. Happy nightmares everyone.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Don't Worry Darling

Olivia you f***ing madwoman!

I am so not sure where to start. I liked it a good deal, gave me exactly what I expected and wanted, but I think this one is gonna be a short review. There just ain't much I can divulge. Okay so story time, a young housewife in the 1950s is living a trully idyllic life but as time passes cracks start forming and she seeps through them to discover not all is cocktails and sunshine. Not exactly the most groundbreaking of plots but you know what, I was invested and intrigued to end credits. I wish I did not have a headache when I walked in, not that the movie contributed to it at all, but it's hard to focus on dialogue and sown seeds when you just wish you had some ibuprofen. The movie gets bizzare and kinda unsettling fairly quick, and we get some avant garde artsy stuff and you know I'm onboard for that. Florence Pugh, God bless hun you get stuck in these situations but hot damn I'm always so proud of you at the end of the film. Totally did not know that was Harry Styles until credits, but I'm far from modern to say the least but I felt he did quite good throughout. Olivia Wilde with piercing green eyes, gingerhair, and 50s aesthetics, 10/10! Was really looking forward to Chris Pine being a bad guy, and while we have bits of this power struggle and manipulations he isn't that prevalent in it. On one hand I can see and respect why, he's almost this Bond villain where he is more heard than seen and his presence is felt looming everywhere. I appreciate that but he did really good with his physical performance that I wanted more out of it. The movie has elements of The Truman Show, A Clockwork Orange, some real world cult influence, and a healthy dose of psychological madness. And I know, I am gazing into the future as we speak and I don't like a single goddamn thing I'm seeing. Oh this movie has an agenda, it's man hating propaganda, every bullshit buzzword under the sun, feminism, SJW, "woke", ect. ect., and I'm sure the world cares so much about your opinion sweetheart. Speaking as The Dude, and I am fairly certain there was a majority of women in that theater with me, I can say this is a very good movie and you can tell Olivia Wilde had so much to get off her chest in regards to conformity, relationships of a toxic variety, freedom of choice, and how the 1950s lifestyle treated women. I am okay with this, I dig it, I gave two thumbs way way up when end credits rolled. 4 stars, 8/10, goodnight everybody!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

When The Bough Breaks

Not as great as Acrimony but still enjoyable.

I may get into the spirit of reviewing more thriller movies like this, wow this movie got wild. Like okay, full admission, I knew about this movie and what happened in it but this a prime example of seeing is believing. I saw Brad Jones review this at a Midnight Screening and I was totally okay seeing it based off his recommendation. So the movie is about a fairly upper class couple, played by Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall, who have been desperately trying to have kids and have taken the approach of a surrogate mother to do the heavy lifting for 9 months, but uh...things go south and all Fatal Attraction. I'm just gonna say it, if I knew jack about this movie and we got to where we meet the surrogate Anna, played by Jaz Sinclair, I could tell just from her eyes that she would not be prime mama material. That's not a slam against the actress, far f***ing from it actually, she was amazing in this movie! Can I blame her for crushing hardcore on Morris Chestnut? Hell friggin' no! Ladies, gents, anon, take damn notes on this man and try your best to catch a guy like that. Holy shit, I aspire to be like Morris Chestnut in this movie! 1000% dedication to his wife, puts up with so much, wants to be a papa, aspiring businessman, impeccable fashion, the man is flawless. Ho mah gawd, bless him. I will give this guy all my money next film I see him going to be in. Regina Hall, surprisingly more of a background player in all this, it's very much centered on this power play of affection between Morris and Jaz, but she does very well and nails the emotional crux of being stuck between an unstoppable force and an immovable object. Production wise, quite good I mean for a film that doesn't entirely have a huge budget and could very easily slip into Lifetime movie of the week, knows how to make a shot look good and severe props to set designers and effects. And oh yeah, you get a horror money shot on par with any Friday The 13th movie, totally unexpected but so damn effective. I am so not for romance thrillers or whatever the high holy hell you want to call movies like this, but if it involves Taraji P. Henson or Morris Chestnut, you bet your ass I am all in. 3 stars, 7/10, another new movie tomorrow if all should go well and I am thoroughly interested in how it will go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


Holy cow did this slip right under my radar, I'm losing track of time.

I would like to issue a formal apology to the director Ti West, the production crew, and star Mia Goth, and say I am so f***ing sorry I missed the premiere! The words are trying to escape my mouth, but I was rendered speechless by this film. I'm still fumbling about with the fact that X came out this year, it sure doesn't feel like it. Man. Jesus Christ movie! The question of which is better, X or Pearl is unanswerable in my mind's eye right now. So let's go through it and see what the answer shall be. The year is 1918, World War 1 is still raging, spanish influenza is on the rise, and a young lady living on a farm named Pearl has aspirations to dance in the pictures. Where do I begin? I feel Ti West is getting way more artsy in this movie than X, which is fine with my snob side entirely, there are sequences and more directly shots that say, look at me I have something gorgeous to show to you, very striking colors and painting-esque composition. I love it. I can't talk about her right now, just...just hang on a minute. The story may truthfully feel not as involved and horror filled as X, but I feel that is intentional. It focuses on a farm girl, her small town, the very veryyy slim assortment of people she knows, it's really about as independent filmmaking as you can get while still having a budget. And before I forget, did anyone get some hard Wizard Of Oz vibes at certain points. A young farm girl fed up with her life, dreaming of something grander, only to know home is the place to be above all. There is a scarecrow in it, with a painted face, green shirt, and black hat, but the less said about that the better. Pearl even flat out looks like the real world equivalent of the Wicked Witch when she tries to take Toto away, that can't have been coincidence. Not sure if it has significance on the movie....but it's there. Alright. Guys. Mia Goth deserves, no I flat out DEMAND on her behalf, that this woman wins every single major award for an actress next year. Motherf***er you do not walk past a performance like this, not in your life! One of the best modern monologues and performances I have seen in a long ass while, and an ending shot that made my soul quiver out of my body as my eyes were transfixed in a mix of immense delight and overwhelming terror, no no no. You, mm-mmm, no way, you don't get to say bad things about her, ain't gonna happen. This. This is it. I can't say for certain, but this could be the best actress I've seen in all my days. There just no one who can commit wholesale like she does in this movie, no way, no how, it's just her in her prime element giving the performance of a lifetime. Holy goddamn, motherf***ing, sons a' bitchin', shitting me out the ass, f*** f*** f***ing hell, I can't believe how good she is in this. Moving swiftly on. No groovy soundtrack but I can forgive that, supporting cast is very commited and props to them for making it all come alive, gruesome as hell effects though not clearly as ample as X it still gets the bloody job done. What a friggin' comeback for new movies, the unexpected wait was worth every second and penny of my life, do I like it better than X? I gave X like a 9 if not a 9.5/10, and I will say Pearl gets a sterling 4 stars, 9/10. It's close, like a hair breadth away guys in either direction, just go see it and don't worry about my rankings or score. The best expectations for cinema is zero expectations, I had no clue what the hell I was walking into but I clearly liked what I saw. My subconcious has enough nightmare fuel for the next 5 years rent free. I'll see you tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Joe Pera Talks With You: Season 3

Like man I am not emotionally okay right now that there is no more new Joe Pera to watch. the final season the best? Well all endings are sad in a way and despite that, I would say yeah. It's one of the few shows I've seen in my life where the quality stays at an excellent standard throughout, and the enjoyment factor not just from the comedy but overall is exemplary and top of the peak. There's some pretty huge stuff that happens in this season, I mean lots happens great and small and thankfully no severe heartache is included. Gene retires and starts a semi-overarching story about chairs and the act of sitting, Sarah opens up and gets some gal pals which is great, Joe has to sell his Nana's house and reflects on legacy before taking a giant step with Sarah, and Gene creates Skynet and has plans to rule the world. That last part is not a joke. So help me, if I could, I would vote for that man under every alias I have, there's no one I trust more for the highest office. Fun conversational topics this season include going chair shopping, camping, the act of flying, and building furniture. Favorite episode....that's a tough one, I adore the flying episode for the amazing drone footage and fascinating train of thought you would have if you thought about taking to the air. Sarah getting new friends and coming out of her shell is so damn sweet and I cannot compliment that woman enough as is so that's possible contender material. And I gotta say the last episode is really damn good and the reason I love it is more for the fact of what you don't see, what happens after end credits, where does the lives of these people go and what direction is the world headed to? I call it the Watchmen effect. But I honestly like the season opener best, Joe and Gene going chair shopping and it's just such a cozy environment and honest to God, hand over my heart....I think that's the closest I have experienced serenity, true peace from a television show. I've experienced it multiple times in my life, often in the presence of silence and trees, but never have I felt that from a show. In fact, I've never felt anything like how I do watching other shows when I'm comfy in my chair and turning on Joe Pera Talks With You. It's the epitome of one of a kind for me, there just is nothing like it in media, which makes it all the more special. It can make me at ease, comfy, the warm fuzzies sieging my heart, thoughtful, appreciative of life, emotional about life, on the verge of tears even when nothing particularly heavy is going on it's just a feeling, and just unadulterated concentrated happiness surging through my soul. I've seen damn good television in my life, shows that might not be perfect but I still love them greatly regardless, shows that encapsulate phases of my life, I think I found the best and most perfect TV show right here. I give ratings primarily on enjoyment factor but always taking into consideration the aspects of production, acting, and direction while looking at the broad picture of cinema. Studio 666 is not objectively a 10/10, Cruella is not objectively a 10/10, Star Wars is not objectively a 10/10, but you know what? I have the time of my life watching those movies and revel in every second of it because it gives me everything I want and love. This series surpasses 10/10s, a 10 is shortselling it for me, I do not ironically give super high scores for anything least of all this. I mean it. This....this is it. I don't see it being toppled. Best dang television I've ever seen in my life.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Joe Pera Talks With You: Season 2

This might be a bit tough to talk about at a certain point but if you can't talk frankly don't be a critic.

What a season. Let's talk story bits first and then we'll dig in. So the show picks up with the beginning of summer break which offers a lot of opportunity and well earned rest for Joe and Sarah as they fully commit to a relationship, and a literal overarching plot is put into action by making a bean arch. I knew you would get that joke, you're a smart cookie. Of course the show never loses it's unique landscape of topics to discuss such as grocery stores, hikes, fashion, lighthouses, and internet videos which still offer a lot of charm and introspection to certain things. I think easily my favorite episode of the season is the beauty parlor where Joe and his Nana converse about patience and hairstyles before going to a fish fry, a situation I have experienced many times which is why I hold the episode so dear in my heart. I wish more than anything I could tell you the season is just as lovely and comfy to watch but unfortunately like life, things happen beyond your control. By episode 9 a severe and shocking bomb is dropped when Joe's Nana unexpectedly passes away, and a good bit of the final 4 episodes is him trying to reconcile that fact by writing her obituary, going to the wake, and trying to find his footing afterwards. I can tell it was inspired by real life events and his experiences, and it's not easy for me to tell that I know that feeling all too well. The show was able to express feelings I've never had the heart or words to say before, and it's something incredibly near to my heart that I won't be able to get over. The final bit of dialogue given at the end of the eleventh episode says everything I could ever have said or felt in the darkest period of my life. The overall composition of words, scenery of the The Domes in Milwaukee, and music accompaniment needless to say made me an emotional wreck where I had to take considerable time before moving on to the next episode. Not to say the show lost it's humor or pleasant relaxing mood, far from it in fact, but something that personal to me can't be ignored in writing this. Somehow someway Joe and Sarah are even cuter than before, and the crushing is so real with her. Can't stop, won't stop, they're just brilliant together and bless them. I'm not fully sure if I complimented the cinematography in my previous review due to memory difficulties getting worse, but this is a gorgeous show when it wants to be. Whether a simple shot of a growing plant amidst a rainy day, or a spectacular colorful light show in The Domes, or walking amongst reeds and trees near the setting sun, I mean that's pretty strikingly beautiful to me. The soundtrack I dare say has improved and it was already pretty flawless, having a fine mix of soul quieting moody music and jazzy upbeat happy tunes. So much to appreciate and so few words to describe it all. As if I needed more reason to love it and all the effort put in to make it, but it surpasses the previous season on a deeper level taking the basic elements and doing more and interesting things with it, taking it to new horizons unexplored. I don't need to tell you the score, you already know. So instead I'd like to wish you a good and peaceful day, and to give my appreciation for all the folks who keep coming back to read my thoughts. With yesterday's review we hit 975, and while I did have plans for a huge series to top off 1,000 October is nearly upon us and I'm looking forward to the festivities beyond horror reviews. So I hope you join me for the occasion and now I have to think about the possibilities of what comes after that. I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Joe Pera Talks With You: Season 1

I can't simply do this show justice with a simple overview, so let us begin.

I would like first to say BETRAYAL!!! BETRAYAL! BETRAYED ME!! How could you have done this Adult Swim, YOU ARE TEARING ME APART!!! 3 seasons, I know it couldn't have went on forever, nothing lasts that long but this is loathsome in my eyes. You made quite possibly the best television show I have seen in my life and it got the ax. I'm not letting it go, but we're moving on to my happy place. So, ahem, a show 9 episodes long and the majority of them are simply 11 minutes, the fact it got another season is pretty remarkable to begin with I have to say. And it's a premise I can't fully articulate or summarize cause the episodes are completely different to anything I've seen on television, both in subject matter and format. It's...Joe Pera Talks With You, about things like iron, fireworks, how to dance, breakfast, and autumn drives. Maybe not the most thrilling of topics, but it's how the show goes about it is when it's magnetic spell is cast upon you to where it becomes interesting and you can't wait for the next episode. It's easily the most laid back, unhurried, cozy, endearing, and yet super funny show ever. The directing style is so dirt simple you could almost mistake it for a early 2000s film project, normal panning shots, cross dissolves, music that sounds stock but ultimately is as charming and lovely as the show, it just can't be described. Just experience it. See the views and locations of Marquette, meet a few people, gain some knowledge and ask questions that nobody has before, it may not seem like much but when you take the time to sit and enjoy it the more you'll appreciate it, it's a lot like life. Simple joys and pleasures in inexplicable everyday situations, anyone can do it. The soothing nature of the show is unparalleled, not just on part of the writing but our host and humble narrator too, Joe has a very soft slow melody to his speech and the points he brings up are interesting and even existential at times, I'd almost call it a show for introverts or people who just like to think. I think the dedicated crew knew what they were going for in composition of the series, making the experience (and there simply is no other way to word it than that) one of calmness while still making me laugh to beat the band on numerous occasions. It's a kind of dull dry humor, and I can see many people not fully getting it but for me it worked wonders. It's kind of hard to discuss it, but I attribute that nature more on the grounds that I simply enjoy it and find myself at a loss for words when trying to paint a picture rather than it having nothing to say or do. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't much acting involved from everybody, Gene is great to be around and has a voice that could melt butter and while his interactions with Joe are brief they are still highly enjoyable. Jo is well, wow, not to get off on tangents but I think she is supremely cute and brings a great deal of humor to the programme, and the relationship between her and Joe is a sweet and natural one culminating in an entirely different but nevertheless endearing romance from what you would normally see. I think my personal favorite episode is the fall drive, just the scenery alone wins it but the material for the episode is some food for thought and the humor just as spot on as ever. I don't know, what can I really say that I feel in my heart? It's a flawless piece of television, I always feel like I'm in a comfortable cozy spot when I watch an episode and not just on the account of my recliner and  warm blanket, it gives me newfound appreciation of life in all it's average facets and gets me thinking about the life I've lead but not the depressing kind. The kind where you're thankful and happy to reminisce. The music is just that right kind of music that I love best, very relaxing, not loud but has a different kind of energy, while still having moments of upbeat and happy music as well, and I don't think it would come as a surprise that I have several songs in my music library. It's just....nice, that's all I can say about it. You see so much apathy and sarcasm and negativity in life and the world, but here's a show that is lovely, honest, and wholesome. Yeah that's the word, wholesome, it's a wholesome show that deserves great love and attention in my estimation, because it simply gives that to the audience. I don't think I would have the heart to ask more from the show when it gives me more than enough as is. 4 gold stars, 20/10, and we're just getting started.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Blade Runner Black Lotus

Okay look, I'm gonna try to articulate myself as best as possible.

Black Lotus is not a bad show, it's a very niche fandom that sprung forth a very niche show. I think yet again we are touching new grounds, as I've never watched or reviewed a 3D anime series before, it's traditionally 2D and that's what I know best. And indeed Black Lotus has been on my radar for a good few months but I didn't know it was 3D from the get go, yet I knew I wanted to watch it. Here's the thing. As a standalone show, it's decent, I liked it, end of story. As an installment of the Blade Runner series, it can't help but fall a bit flat if only due to the fact that it is quite literally sandwiched between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, two excellent pieces of fiction that are beautiful and insightful to us as human beings. It's going to be the black sheep by default. Now does that necessarily mean no one should watch it? Not at all, I kept in mind the target audience as I was watching, it premiered on Toonami and Crunchyroll so teenagers and early adults specifically who love anime. And this could very well be their gateway to watching the movies and perhaps reading Philip K. Dick's novel, though at the same time that breeds apprehension in me. Cause the show is action orientated, which could lead people to believe that's what the movies are like which is exactly what happened in 1982 and it could alienate audiences. But let's actually talk about the show now. So our story takes place still in Los Angeles in the year 2032, as we follow a young woman named Elle who has a strong case of amnesia but is incredibly skilled at kicking ass and is out on a revenge mission against a group of high ranking illustrious figures in society. Any cyberpunk story has a strong anti-corporation, down with the rich sentiment, it's a staple of the subculture. So we pretty much get a piecemeal story over 13 episodes of Elle trekking out to assassinate these figureheads as she regains memories and makes a few allies along the way, a lot of inspiration from revenge movies and introspective dramas were taken and it works adequately. I can see people thinking the show is a slog to get through, it is more slow paced akin to the movies and though it is only about 4 hours in total, it may not seem like much is actually accomplished over time. I can tell you right here right now, skip episode 8, you will miss nothing and learn nothing, it is the epitome of a filler episode. So technically it's even shorter. Elle is a neat protagonist, I was pretty onboard with her in her bomb ass jacket and samurai sword cutting bitches, so I was invested enough. Joseph as her partner in crime makes for a good dynamic, and I'm proud of the creators for not having to force a romance, he has his own history and problems that we get but I feel the show could have utilized all the character's backstories far more effectively. We pal around a bit with LAPD officer Davis, I wasn't feeling much for this character and there is some sextuple amounts of bullshit with her at the tail end of this series, you'll know it when you see it trust me. We actually do get a blade runner who at first I thought was K but no Ryan Gosling for us today, and I find that super interesting how we actually see a blade runner as an antagonist for once it's a cool touch. I mean I know the main focus is on Elle, and the other characters aren't (entirely) wasted, and the voice cast isn't bad one bit, but it begs for more fleshing out. And I'm not entirely sure if this has a negative aspect per se, but the 3D animation lends an odd effect on the voice acting and I'm not sure if I can articulate it well. The animation is good, it obviously doesn't have the budget for totally realistic 3D models, but it does have moments of late 90s/early 2000s TV 3D animation. The motion capture utililized works super well during the fight sequences, and the actual backgrounds and environments look damn good in my opinion. But! The animation doesn't have a great range of facial acting, so it can deaden the impact of line reads which is through no fault of the actors, it's just a side effect of a slight uncanny valley minefield the show has to traverse. I can applaud the creators for wanting to go this direction instead of traditional 2D animation but it's a slippery tightrope to balance. Music kinda sucks though I won't lie, not the actual episode score that fits beautifully in with the soundscape of Vangelis and Hans Zimmer, but they use modern vocal songs for the intro, which while the visuals are great I would not in any universe say the theme is Blade Runner in any capacity, and also the outros during the credits and my God is it just not my scene man. I'm not big on modern music in terms of rap/hip hop/R&B or poppy stuff, it just ain't for me but I can appreciate other people liking it. So all in all, it's a mixed bag for sure but I feel it has enough to be a mostly good mixed bag. I give it 2.5 stars, 7/10. More TV next week, I already talked about it a bit ago but screw that we're going in depth season by season so see you then.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Tokyo Vice

We're keeping the ball rolling here on Japan.

Again, very similar circumstances brought this show to my attention and I have no problem saying a big draw point to it was Ken Watanabe and seeing Japan set in the 90s. Kinda already burned me first episode that the show takes place at the tail end of the 90s, and really there isn't much evidence throughout to solidify the time period but more on that later. So our story follows american news journalist Jake Adelstein as he gets his first reporting job at a japanese newspaper and fairly quickly gets wind of a loan service connected with several suicides and tries to gather information on that while navigating the workplace environment, the yakuza, and a semi-romantic life. I will say straight up, not a bad premise but I feel even at the end of this season, and a second one has been approved, it does still feel like buildup to the next thing. Nothing big happens except for something one of our main players gets into. It is a show where the first season is setting the board with all the pieces in place before stuff really kicks off. It's also an ensemble cast and while undoubtedly Jake is our main lead, each player has ties to the central conflict of crime bosses in Tokyo. We have Samantha, a direct and no bullshit american who works as a hostess in yakuza controlled businesses. Sato, who is a member of the yakuza and frequently interacts with Jake and Samantha, even forming a kinda sorta love triangle. Katagiri, a Tokyo cop who hasn't ever been bribed and takes Jake under his wing to bust up the crime families and educate him on how the system of law works in Japan. And Eimi, who is Jake's superior and busts his ass frequently to not play detective and simply report but slowly gets involved in the deduction process. So it's this intricately designed web of a story but the good news is it's not difficult to keep up with, each main character has a distinct setting and supporting cast to where you know very quickly who each person is and what aspect of the story is being progressed. And the more I write this out, the more I think it's very Gotham-esque. A first season where things happen here and there but leave the hard hits till the last episode and leaves you more with intrigue than satisfaction for the next season, Katagiri is very much a Jim Gordon character with Jake being a quasi Bruce digging into the seedy underbelly of the city, and each character has a unique setting that further identifies them with many many ties focusing on the center of organized crime families. Cut the ludicrous storylines, case of the week, and budding rogues gallery out of Gotham and you aren't too far off the mark for Tokyo Vice. It didn't grab me as immediately or as strongly as Miss Sherlock but I was willing to see it to the end, it's only 8 episodes each about an hour long, and I thought it was decent. The casting is very solid in my opinion, first thing I've seen of Ansel Elgort since Baby Driver and he is a good lead, and props to the guy for being dedicated enough to learn japanese, which he pulls off effortlessly. Ken is not as prevalent as I would have liked him to be, but the performance is still good though I wish he got more attention in guiding Jake through this minefield of a city and more screentime. Rachel Keller is decent, not at all bashing anybody's acting in this show honestly they are performing everything with a lot of conviction and presence, yet I liked her more when she was a side character and not when she got upgraded to main character status but I blame that more on the plot than the woman herself. Rinko Kikuchi I really liked and while she is the meanest (the smallest that is) player in this ensemble, I really really hope she gets more screentime cause I could tell when I first saw her she was going to be interesting, she was going to have more to her than you think, and we get some of that so I'm looking forward to more of her. Sho Kasamatsu is in my opinion the most interesting in terms of character, he can be very laid back and fun for he is a young man and can be indeed funny, yet he has that anger and violence that would be expected from a gang member but at that same time you can tell it's not quite the life he would want for himself. A familiar character type of a reluctant criminal but done very well. So cast is rock solid, the production values are high but not top of the line which I would expect nothing less of, best intro to a modern series I've seen in a hot minute I mean beautifully styllish and unique, I dig it man. Now onto the time period idiosyncrasies, there isn't a great deal to remind you this show takes place in the 1990s. Now does that necessarily mean I need to see a Pokemon advert in the background, or see someone order a Zima in a bar, or carry around a Walkman on the streets every 5 minutes? Of course not, and you do get bits of 90s tech predominantly more so than any other facet of the decade. You got your mini cassettes, you got your portable phones, you got your VHS tapes, you got your Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, but the show looks like it was made in 2022 for modern times, with that ultra crisp definition of cinematography and admirable production of sets and clothing. Even when it flashes back to 1994 it doesn't do much to illustrate the time period. The show is based on a real reporter and all the shit that went down in his time in Japan in the 90s, but they could have updated the timeframe to present day and it wouldn't have changed a damn thing production wise. There is an art to making things look dated, look legit if it was made in a certain time and place in the world, and I don't get the sense a lot of modern filmmakers know how to achieve such a thing which is a rant for a whole other day. All in all, it's a decent but ultimately average first season, it has some good moments, some intrigue, good characters, but not a lot of story progression just not a whole lot gets accomplished but I figure they can really expand and knock this second season out of the park now that they've got their set up done and squared away to get people settled in this world they are fashioning. 2.5 stars, 7/10, one more show to go and it's not one you would really think to go in tandem with the rest this week.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Miss Sherlock

I'm so upset.

I'm just gonna say this and I'm at least 99% sure I'm on the level here. I like Miss Sherlock way more than the BBC Sherlock. Yes. And for all 2 of you remaining to read this, hi, hello, welcome, I'm so happy to be back. The worst part about this show beyond points that I will make later is I'm not entirely sure I can describe or justify why I liked it more, strictly on the basis that not everyone is gonna enjoy it the way I do. So let's rewind a bit here, I just got HBO Max and was flipping through every single collection of film and television they had and the second I saw two japanese women in the placeholders for Sherlock and Watson I just had one question, "How is this show going to work?" and the answer is very very well. I mean the show came at quite literally in a post BBC Sherlock world, with the last series debuting in 2017 and this show starts in 2018, so there is nods and tips of the hat toward that series but ultimately does it's entire own thing. So we meet up with Wato who has just returned to Japan and gets sort of blindsided into a murder where she meets a heavily eccentric fashionable lady named Sherlock and ostensibly becomes her roommate helping her crack cases and form a quite cute relationship. And while they do not become romantically involved it took maybe 3 minutes before I was just like, ship it! F***ing ship it!! Why? Why not! And the relationship along with these two main characters got me hooked and it got me hooked fast. I got halfway through the first episode and firmly was ready to charge through all the episodes and see this sucker to the end. I could be here for the next 300 years raving and fawning over our two leads, Yuko Takeuchi is in my opinion a phenomenal and hilarious Sherlock. She seems way more sort of eccentric, on the spectrum, deliberately trolls and takes the piss out of people, not caring for etiquette or sensibility because she's got murders and shit to solve, she's away! And my God is it the most glorious and beautiful thing I have ever witnessed! Still retaining the high functioning mind and alien towards human emotion but undeniably leaving her stamp on the character. 11/10, 12/10, the score just keeps getting higher and I can't stop it! Shihori Kanjiya, okay.....I am certain without doubt or question in mind my heart has been viciously stolen from me, and I am thoroughly okay with that. She is so F***ING CUTE I can't even bear it, so funny and sincere, the way she tries desperately to keep Sherlock focused and polite, heaven and gods above, below, and inbetween, I treasure this lady woman and my heart is hers throughout this series. I quite like how the working partnership between Sherlock and Reimon (Lestrade) is potrayed where Reimon is totally onboard and is very amiable with Sherlock, with her always trusting and relying on the police force and them happy to have her help. Ms. Hatano, what a lovely and polite Mrs. Hudson and even gets wrapped up in a case of her own which is cool. The crimes themselves are not terribly convoluted nor do they borrow from previous adaptations or stories, and the visual style while not nearly as in depth and visually stimulating as the BBC series, still has it's unique way of giving information to the audience. Not much hand holding, but in my experience my detective skills were keeping up incredibly well and there is still plenty a twist to this show that did catch me off guard. Real talk, the end of episode 4 dropped a bomb on me and I was not okay. My teeny-tiny heart can't take it, it's fragile very fragile. By the second episode I had this horrifying epiphany dawn on me and I raised the question, are we gonna see Moriarty and the Reichenbach Fall? Then I was concerned. Heavily. Concerned. Cause I did the research and my findings filled me with much turmoil and depression. The show started in 2018. The show ended in 2018. 8 episodes in total. God...damn it!! Of course I find a new show that I can call all my own and love everything about it, and it is ripped from my arms days after I started it. And yes the ending got me, not in a deep emotional way but I was just so upset that it was over. I don't think I have a criticism to throw at it, it really did charm me so effortlessly and entertained the hell out of me every minute. The best way I can seperate potential fans and people who just won't go for it, our emotional lead next to Sherlock's intellectual lead is called Wato-san as is customary in japanese speech. If you like that and you're okay with that, you're in, you'll love it and it's a trick so nice they did it twice (kinda). If not, there's plenty more to love but it does have that tone. Even with fairly grisly murders the tone is light, very funny, dare I say adorable at times but trust me when I say when it needs to get serious, hit a bit harder, and emotionally invest, it handles it excellently, and I know that just ain't it for everyone but it's not super flowery or silly either. I think this is not only the first live action japanese show I've ever reviewed but the first one I've watched as well, so we are busting open whole new worlds of televised fiction here today. I loved it, I thought it was brilliant, we just got back and I'm already giving a 10/10! 4 stars across the board, check it out man, and we got more business to conduct in the land of the rising sun so tune in tomorrow!