Seems to me, I should comment.
LET'S GO! :-P
JM Vargas here from colder-than-expected Arizona. Dad's recovering fine from surgery, enough to be a cranky old man that refuses to watch movies with me after he and his wife HATED John Krasinski's A QUIET PLACE (2018, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) when I showed it to them earlier in the week. They didn't relate to or cared for anyone in the Abbott family (not even the little kid that bites it near the beginning, which I later found out they didn't even notice was killed), and that's kind-of the whole point of the film. Safe to say before I leave back to New York next week that "A Quiet Place Part II" will not be watched. :-( Oh well, dad's making a full recovery and that's all that matters now. :-)Since nobody wants to watch movies with me in AZ I spent Thursday (last day of the week for AMC A-List usage) at the AMC Ahwatukee 24 theater complex watching first-run theatrical features. First up was The Erwin Brothers' AMERICAN UNDERDOG (2021, theater), a surprisingly watchable and entertaining biopic of the well-known life of NFL QB Kurt Warner. It's a religious movie at its core, but the type where the preaching feels optional/secondary to the story being told and the characters being portrayed by good actors (Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid, Bruce McGill, etc.) who sincerely embody their subject matters. It borders on being a feature-length NFL commercial, but the predictability of its everyman-becoming-a-sports-legend story turns out to be "American Underdog's" best asset. I liked it. :-ONext was Liam Neeson's latest non-studio action vehicle BLACKLIGHT (2022, theater), from the same director/producer (Mark Williams) of 2020's "Honest Thief" and 2021's "The Marksman." The better of the three movies by far, "Blacklight" features Liam as a "Taken"-like shadow operative in charge of extracting deep undercover FBI agents whenever their cover's blown. The least you know going in the best, but Neeson's Travis Block gets pulled deeper into a political cover-up that threatens the lives of his family and a crusading journalist ("The Umbrella Academy's" Emmy Raver-Lampman). Aidan Quinn has fun playing a sleazy politician, but the action scenes feel below-par for a $43 million, shot-in-Australia Liam Neeson movie. It's still entertaining and worth a viewing, but I've sadly come to realize the anticipation of seeing Neeson kick ass is more entertaining than when he actually does it.Last and best was the Kenneth Branagh's long-delayed adaptation of Agatha Christie's DEATH ON THE NILE (2022, theater), which was hit by both production and COVID-19 delays before the Arnie Hammer accusations pushed back its release even further. A rewatch of 2017's "Murder On the Orient Express" is almost mandatory to even remember who the hell Bouc (Tom Bateman) is, since he plays a prominent role in this much-improved and more entertaining murder mystery sequel. Branagh's portrayal of Hercules Poirot gets an interesting psychological makeover, going from cartoony Englishman stereotype into a psychologically damaged individual whose mustache hides deep internal (and external) World War I psychological (and physical) wounds. The digital-as-hell CG Egypt scenery is even more obvious than in "Orient Express," but it's also a more ambitious and beautiful-to-look-at 1930's travelogue. The great cast (Annette Bening, Ali Fazal, Gal Gadot, Russell Brand, Jennifer Saunders, etc.) is entertaining, and the overall production has that Ridley Scott-produced touch of class that's missing from most contemporary period adaptations. Highly recommended despite Arnie Hammer's constant presence being an unavoidable distraction.
Whoa! I am so stoked you liked DEATH ON THE NILE, JM! I would see it no matter what because I eventually see everything with Hercule Poirot, but now I have high expectations. For better or worse. :)
I second Meredith's thoughts...im glad to see you like the new Death on the Nile. I revised the original last year during a deep dive into some mystery flicks and loved it! Will be cool to see how the update holds up.
I... "third" Meredith's and Maske's thoughts on DEATH ON THE NILE and will try to see it next week in the cinema.Help me out as a non-native speaker, is there a common saying if you are "seconding" someone that is already "seconding" to somebody else?I'm sorry for the lack of love your parents showed towards A Quiet PLACE, at the same time I'm very happy that your old man is one his way to recovery!
Thanks, Derk. 😃✌️
Howdy Derk! Love your comments and as for "seconding" someone that "seconded" already...I dont think there is! Maybe we'll have to invent something? "thirding" "thirded" "3 Timessss a Laddddy" (song lyric) "3rd and inches" (sports!) "3..ohhh 3...is a magic number" (school house rock!).Seriously thou, you say you're a non-native speaker but you clearly have a wonderful command of the language. cheers!
Thank you, Mashke (sorry for misspelling your name before). I use DeepL from time to time to help me out with my sentences, and I have a pretty powerful language tool running in my browser to reduce mistakes.
I watched OUTLAW KING (2018) and thought it was very corny. And that corniness was actually a bit refreshing. And it was shot in kind of an old school “natural” way(?), not filled with special filters and effects. It didn’t look super dark, filtered so that you can’t even see the costumes or landscapes in the distance. Also refreshing. Dude I don’t know why people like those battle scenes with swords. They are literally the things of my nightmares. Having to be surrounded by people trying to kill you with swords and you have nothing but metal armor? You will die a brutal death. It’s hard for me to believe that was life and people chose that - threatened or not. So scary. Anyway I saw it for Aaron Taylor Johnson. I’m guessing this is his work that inspired his casting as Kraven the Hunter? I know nothing about Kraven the Hunter except he looks buff, wild and flashy. Skin tight leopard print pants flashy. It sounds kind of cool. Why not? I read Kodi Smit-McPhee was supposed to be in Kraven The Hunter, too. Alas, he has no upcoming projects after Power of the Dog except the Baz Luhrmann Elvis movie in April (says IMDb). I was so happy he was getting popular for TPOTD so now everyone will put him in their movies. But where da movies?
I watched Outlaw King a few months ago and really liked it. Chris Pine is good in everything. Battle scenes with swords/etc. are indeed nightmarish, but that's why we go to the movies, right? It's something I would never want to experience in real life, but it's fun to experience 3rd hand. In reality, life in medieval times would have been miserable, and sword fights would have been few and far between.
I actually think I was a Medieval soldier in a past life because I have dreams about waking up in the middle of battle, wearing that mesh armor, fighting, and...I don’t even watch a lot of these films - not enough, I don’t think, to have the detailed knowledge to be able to recreate the graphics scenes in my head?! Yea, it’s random but I think it’s true. Lol. Chris Pine is a solid actor. I just watched this Youtube video on the accuracy of OUTLAW KING’s depiction of Medieval life, warfare, armor, weapons, clothing, and “traditions” (like the swan thing). Apparently it’s very accurate! More so than most other similar movies. That’s so cool.
Happy Weekend F This Gang! Halloween Kills (2021: Redbox Rental)Table Setting: Ill be brief...I consider carpenters original Halloween a masterpiece and absolutely one of my top 10 horror movies ever. And, as with most amazing debuts that spawn a bunch of sequels..part 2 is pretty enjoyable as you get more time with something you love BUT the originality is already waining. (see: Jaws2, Aliens, Final Destination 2, Friday 13th pt 2, etc) After that (lets skip HalloweenIII for a minute) its a bunch of sequels that are usually watchable for fans but continually further from the originality. Reboots? Usually worse. I did NOT connect with Zombie's take and i thought Halloween 2018 was fine but pretty by the numbers. Review: I cant believe im saying this....i had fun with Halloween Kills..quite a bit of fun. The film creators have already established that they dont want to delve into WHY michael is michael or give him depth which hamstrings them alot. So i kinda dug how the pulled in all the random side characters from the original movie and gave us a Mob Rules vs Michael. The movie is pretty much non stop kills and a smidge of Michael Meyers channeling John Wick (firefighters! final show down). Dont get me wrong, its still a big dumb reboot-quel with like 10% of the overall appeal of the original...but i had fun. PS: No need to delve here as horror fans get it..but Halloween III is a stand alone all time great wackadoodle 80s horror. #FreeDarcy. I quite like the continuing honoring of it by inclusion of the 3 masks in the reboots.
I totally get why you had fun with HALLOWEEN KILLS and I think it's safe to say that people will get softer for this movie over time. I'm pretty sure, this won't be at the bottom of a lot HALLOWEEN rankings in the years to come and I'm already looking forward to rewatching this on a stormy fall day this year, even if I wasn't hot on it the first time I've seen it.
I've been diving into some 1996 fare since the Fest was announced, a few long time rewatches and a few first-time watches. I'll be brief on the first few. I watched FLED for the first time, some entertaining performances surrounding a really lame script and uninspired story. Not recommended. Another first-time watch was DIABOLIQUE. I've never seen the original version, but I've had the ending spoiled from watching those Bravo clip shows in high school. It was...fine. Premise gets stretched a little thin, bit I enjoyed it overall. Also rewatched THINNER, an insane movie that's an absolute delight. But what I really want to talk about is FEAR. I watched Fear a ton in high school and thought it was just a regular, normal movie. Boy was I wrong. First off, Reese Witherspoon's character has maybe the worse sense of self-preservation I've ever seen, constantly returning to a psychopath boyfriend because her dad tells her not to date psychopaths. There are 2 separate instances of a scene set to "Come Down" being immediately followed by a scene set to "Wild Horses." Like, 10 minutes apart. A huge plot point hinges on Reese not being able to tell that Alyssa Milano is clearly being raped. There's a scene where a tertiary character mournfully holds a broken pool cue and vows revenge. I can't believe my mom let my 11 year old self watch this.
Also getting into some ‘96 this week. Watched Grace Of My Heart for the first time in forever. It’s a strange blend of biographical drama and straight up fiction. Even moments that seem too far of a stretch are backed up great performances and the songs hit hard when they need to. Keeping with ‘96, I just put in the Cable Guy blu and am urging you all to watch Jerry Cantrell’s video for “Leave Me Alone”. Extremely’96 and bonus points for awkward movie clip drop ins. Hope everyone has a good weekend.
That Roland Emmerich was able to gather 140 million dollars to create an “independent blockbuster” like MOONFALL is stunning and impressive – has nobody read the script? How could he get so lost within his own formula, that works so well in INDEPENDENCE DAY, but gets diluted as the years go by? I always hoped that he knows that he is not a director for “smart movies”, but for those that are fun, even if his latest output showed nothing of that. But MOONFALL is overly stupid AND tries to create a sense of depth and meaning within its pseudo-science bullshit story…Don’t get me wrong, I’m down for simple sci-fi-action within grand ideas and schemes. So yes, I’ve no problem with the premise in general, I believe that it could have worked. There are a lot of simple changes and cuts to be made to the script, and I believe that we could have a blockbuster, that is around 100 minutes long (not 130 that feel like 150) and actually fun to watch. My biggest issues don’t lie in the pseudo-science and conspiracy theories (Independence Day thrived on that, too), but in the structure, pacing and in the amount of stops the movie makes to sell us the personal drama of the characters, that I really don’t care about when there is the moon crashing down to earth. This movie is no MELANCHOLIA, where the character drama was the main focus, this is an action film – with good-looking effects on the positive side. Roland Emmerich needs someone to tell him “no” – no to his bloated ideas and input. Keep it simple. Anyone has any thoughts on MOONFALL and want to talk about it here or on skype/zoom/jitsi? I need movie therapy. :D On the good side, I’ve seen A WOMAN OF PARIS: A DRAMA OF FATE, which I liked. Adding to that, I rewatched DR. STRANGELOVE, which is still a superb movie, and HAIL, CAESAR!. The last one is developing to be one of my most favorite movies within the last decade. Have a great weekend, everyone!
I'll be your "Moonfall" therapy comfort blanky, Derek.🎃🤘😄
Ok, some simple points and SPOILERS ahead.a) The beginning: Best Emmerich starts with showing us what the threat is, and then he shows people reacting to it, while the threat, which is not clear for everyone at first, becomes undeniable. In my opinion, he shouldn't have shown the attack in space at the beginning, but John Bradley-West's character discovering that something small has changed with the moon's orbit. He is puzzled and "run tests and models", as scientists in Emmerich's movies do.b) This leads me to his character, who shouldn't be a conspiracy looser (he basically calls himself that) in the first place, but maybe a small budget scientist for NASA, that happens to be open to alternative theories and then try to explain his at first skeptical boss (Halle Berry) what is going on.c) Patrick Wilson's character can be introduced as the former NASA hero that somehow had a fallout with the organization because he has experienced something on a space mission that damaged his reputation and can not be explained properly, too. I have no bigger issues with that part of the story. But please, just leave out his whole family business to a certain degree (you can not leave it out completely, because without daddy issues, there would be no real Emmerich movie). His family could be shown as split up, but his son don't need to be in prison and don't need this prominent role in the movie. d) I wouldn't change the plot of the first mission failing, that's why they reactivate Patrick Wilson's character in the first time. But I would cut out the demented mother of Bradley-West's character and won't mention Elon Musk at all in the movie, because this pins it in our time. I would rather rewrite Michael Peña's character to be a billionaire who can help NASA with spaceships - he wants to go up there, too.e) Mass destruction on earth, as the moon comes closer and closer. Before the moon changes its direction again, just let it slide through the White House (where is the president anyway in this movie), through the whole country up until Mount Rushmore, just for the fun of destroying landmarks in Emmerich's movies.f) Let Patrick Wilson's character have the honor to end like Bruce Willis in Armageddon and don't over-explain, who built the moon and for what reason. It's there to protect us, but it is in danger. That is all we need to know (especially if you aim for a second movie).@J.M. Vargas: Thoughts?
Between some long workdays and watching the Olympics, there was not much time for other activities. I only got to a couple of things. THE FROGMEN (1951) – A drama about a UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) unit in the Pacific theater in World War II. Richard Widmark plays the new officer trying to successfully carryout missions while winning the confidence of the men he leads. The film is probably best enjoyed by those who are fans of the actors in it. There is excellent underwater photography for the time, and the re-creations of military operations are historically interesting.SIDE STREET (1950, dir. Anthony Mann) – A young man in financial difficulty succumbs to the temptation of getting quick money through theft and soon finds himself in a situation spiraling out of control. Directed by one of the best Hollywood genre directors of the period, SIDE STREET is a textbook example of film noir. With much of the film shot on location in New York City, the city becomes a character in the action. Highly recommended.
SWIRI (1999) - A really interesting South Korean action film about undercover agents from the North sent to undermine Korean society and government. Absolutely worth your time if your library system has the DVD or you want to rent it (you can also find it under the title SHIRI).
Black Roses (1988: Shudder as part of Joe Bob Briggs Heartbreak Trailer Park Valentines Day Special)Table Setting: Joe Bob, Darcy,and the whole Last Drive In crew are the absolute best. Their ongoing programming is some of my favorite views over the last few years. ALSO its amazing how many gaps in my horror fandom are filled thanks to their show. Take for example Black Roses....Movie Review: 80s horror cheeze! Yes please! Ive wanted to see this cult metal classic for some time and it delivered. If you have Shudder and havent seen it, i do suggest. Of course if you ARENT interested in a movie about a hair metal band brainwashing a bunch of kids with satans tunes and turn them into crazed killers combined with puppet demons..welp...your loss! Critical Feedback: Theres a scene with the hero teacher and a demon puppet that feels like a lower budget take on the Evil Dead 2 vibe. I wish the movie leaned into that general vibe a little bit more a little bit earlier.Peace .n. Im on a Highwayyyyy to HellMash
I heard about this during a Fthismovie fest or Junesploitation. It was filmed in little Dundas, Ontario, which I grew up right outside of. Had never heard of it. I bought the DVD, but never got around to seeing it.
The number of films I'm aware of being filmed in Dundas is exactly one film. haha
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