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. 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!

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Inside Out 2

Well, it was at least pretty to look at.

Inside Out 2 isn't a bad film, it just wasn't entirely for me. Now in terms of expanded lore and mind mechanics the additions we got were good! The whole thread idea is rather ingenious, and the new emotions we get are logical additions when Riley hits puberty. I will admit the story is a bit ehhh, and the message is very after school special but hey other people can probably get more out of it than me. So the story goes that Riley is doing well in life and continues to be a happy girl until the night when the teenage hormones activate, then everything is thrown into chaos for our normal emotions when and I kid you not a hostile takeover occurs when the new emotions appear. They are being Embarassment, Envy, Ennui, and of course Anxiety. Leading Joy and the others to trek back to headquarters once more to keep Riley on track. Now the animation has improved a good bit and has some intriguing new setpieces to utilize, so no points deducted there. Voice cast is still very on point with Lewis Black being the standout for me comedically, and I'll give a shoutout to both the filmmakers and Kensington Tallman for giving Riley a rather unflattering teen voice showcasing that hard hit your vocals take when puberty is running rampant. I really don't want to bash the movie, cause it just doesn't deserve it but man I know they needed something to create conflict for there to even be a movie but this ain't it chief. Having Anxiety almost immediately literally eject our original emotions just feels off, now I understand for the purpose of the message and the insight of the movie it had to be done but neither are the new emotions treated like villains so it seemed too much. And like I said the overall message is almost the epitome of after school special, I'm almost surprised they didn't do an anti-drug angle. Typical stuff like be a good person, don't abandon your values for popularity, keep your friends close, etc. etc. and I know that is something some teens go through. It's not a horrible message that will do harm to anyone but it ain't really anything new. Plus the movie wiggles it's toes in the drama pool and I hate drama, and what I mean by that is emotional drama the one reason I never watch any live action television series involving teenagers or young adults. Don't have the patience for it. I get it, it has it's place in this movie, but to me it's weak. Best part of the whole damn movie which shows considerable depth is a really poignant and heartbreakingly true line, about how the older you get the less reason you have to be joyful. That nearly speared me straight through the heart, cause so much happens in a life and eventually you reach a point where you lose people, you keep having to change your lifestyle, you lose something important to you and it gets harder. But it never gets impossible. And if that's the only thing I'm taking away from this, that ain't no bad thing.  It's really just those two (albeit central) aspects that are detrimental but it isn't losing a great deal of points, and I feel people can still see it and enjoy it just fine. Can it wait till video? In my opinion yes. But all in all I give it 3 stars, 7/10!

In Retrospect: Inside Out

Alright, I'm back. Let's start this shit up.

Okay I am gonna try really hard not to be a jaded old bastard, but maaaan I haven't been to so many dark places in such a short amount of time. It's crazy to think it took almost 10 years for a sequel to Inside Out, however at the same time it makes a bit of sense cause look at it from the perspective of the kids who were anywhere between the ages of 5 to 10 who saw it the first time, they're in that hardcore teenage range or young adult age who can look back and chuckle at it all. Obviously I'm a bit beyond the time gap and indeed Inside Out made some existential and emotional crises pop up while watching but it's still enjoyable, it's beautifully animated, and it is funny at times but obviously people love this movie more on just the idea. How does your mind work? And how the film goes about explaining topics like how core memories are formed to how feelings on past events can change over time to even stupid little earworms popping up randomly is potrayed not only intelligently but charmingly. I mean I still have some serious shit to throw at Joy mainly just her bashing poor Sadness almost non-stop but it's a character arc, she betters before end credits but jeez. I mean I get it, I truly do. Oh how it is to be young and naive and not knowing how the world works! I still say the funniest part for me anyway is the red alert girl approaching joke, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at that. Plus you know I'm older now, still just as jaded and broken as always, yet time is if nothing but a great pool of reflection and I'm not quite the same as I was when first writing that review back in 2016, so rewatching it I actually got more out of it I think. It's emotional, I think it almost follows that Soul standpoint where it's more made for older grown up folk than kids which certainly is no bad thing. So I can easily urge people even if you haven't seen this movie in awhile to give it another go. 3 stars from me, 8/10! I have no real clue where the story goes from here so I'm fairly pumped to finally see part two of this story. I don't think they'll go very far with the ahem, hey hey aspects of teendom but to see how they characterize a much more tumultous period of everybody's lives will be fascinating and no doubt entertaining to watch. Which surprise! That review will be coming out later today, true double feature style! See you soon!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

A Slight Delay...

Well....shit! Un-friggin'-believable. I was supposed to be speaking to you today from the new home of my incredibly basic and tiny The Dude Studio at the new apartment, but fuckery is afoot and there was a severe literal day of occurence and I quote, let me repeat that again and I QUOTE " The ceiling collapsed.". So I am stuck for all intents and purposes in limbo, with next door to zero cash, entombed in a prison of boxes, spinning my wheels. Getting nowhere. I am so burned out from this oh so special occasion that can suck on cox, and I am profusely sorry to say this but I won't be able to see Inside Out 2 and get the review done this week. I pray to my dark patron from beyond the stars, and appeal to every righteous and hellish force above, below, and in between that next week we are going to be back and the apartment debacle is settled. I'll throw out an In Retrospect for Inside Out because it's been coincidentally almost 8 years to the day that I wrote that review, but as one trained in the Force I know that true coincidences are rare, and finally get to see the new Pixar film. If not, screw it I'll throw some reviews up and try to make the best of this that I can. This isn't my first shitstorm and I'm playing the long game and I will win. So join me next week, catch up on some other reviews from the past I've written, find something good to watch and do all that grand stuff. I'm going to hex a few people and go to bed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Big Jake

Been a while since we did a western and I wanted to do something for my Papa's birthday today.

Cowboy movies and especially movies of John Wayne were a staple of his younger years and coincidently this is not only the first John Wayne film I've reviewed but it's also the first one I ever saw, and I was pretty young on top of that. So the story follows after a ranch is shot up and a young boy named Jake is taken as a hostage his grandpa Jacob saddles up with his two sons to deliver the ransom and get his grandson back, simple as dirt plot but an entertaining movie nevertheless. And this movie was made ostensibly during the last gasp of true western cinema which in and of itself had been in decline since the 60s, this movie came out in 1971 and John passed away before the end of the decade in 1979. The film takes place in 1909 and actually does a pretty damn splendid job setting up that time period, it has a fairly involved prologue just setting the scene and describing the events and people of the world to get you in the mindset, you see proper early 1900s automobiles, you see rifles with scopes and pistols with magazines, and it's not really there as commentary about how the old west is dying and the future is near but just as other elements of that day and age. John is same as ever in his films and there's something to be said about how recognizably iconic he still is 45 years after his death, and I feel this is a good introduction movie for his filmography because you see him have comedy moments but also the gunslinging horseriding moments as well, it worked out just fine for me and I've seen a good few of his other stuff because of this. Now I didn't know John's real life son Patrick Wayne played Jacob's son James in the movie, and he may be my favorite character of the bunch he has plenty of attitude to go around and always gives Jacob a lot of good grief right from the word go or more I should say daddy. That part never fails to tickle me pinker than I already am. Christopher Mitchum is the far more respectable straight laced son Michael but he has a penchant for the modern, riding a new fangled motorbike and has more contemporary morals about using guns. It's good to know Chris is still with us today. Richard Boone plays our bad guy here John Fain and right from the get go he has such a striking and memorable physicality to the role, a more rough and tanned face plus sporting a nice poncho doesn't hurt but I like how he plays it, he's not a psychopathic murderer or this cold blooded gunslinger he can be very affable with people and never seems to lose his cool but he's determined and ain't changing the plan even if it means the death of that boy. This was Maureen O'Hara's last acting role for a good long while and though she wanted a bigger part she was glad to work with John again due to them having such a strong friendship on past movies, which you truthfully just don't hear much about anymore. A good chunk of the secondary actors here were all part of previous Wayne films under his Batjac production company so you feel that tight knit relationship on screen between many of the actors. And strange as it is to say, no offense given to the filmmakers, but this movie doesn't look like it was shot in 1971. I mean there's barely any sets until nearer the end with a lot of location shooting out in the wilds of Mexico, but even from a cinematography point of view the film stock is something you'd see around the early 60s and the direction is pretty standard with little actual camera movement. Yet at the exact same time this film ain't afraid to put a good amount of blood or violence in! I mean barely past the 10 minute mark we get our inciting incident with this ranch getting raided, and they had the balls to shoot an under ten year old kid and (albeit off screen) machete this sweet young girl in a flower garden to death. I mean daaamn! That's the only thing that leans it more towards 70s action for me, everything else I totally buy it's 1909. Plus it sure don't hurt we get some Texas namedrops here and there, and considering I'm not that far from the Rio Bravo myself it's an interesting window to another time another place. It's not one of the best westerns I've seen but it sure as hell has some sentimental value and nostalgia for me to where I still like it just as much as I did when I was a youngin'. So I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10, and a big Happy Birthday to my Papa who was singlehandedly the force that got me to turn my head from science fiction and to give these western things a try to begin with!