Saturday, November 5, 2022

Weekend Open Thread


  1. Good weekend to everyone. I hope Scary Movie Month was enjoyable for all of you. According to my tally, I saw 39 films in October. Thirty were first-time watches. Despite feeling burnt out by the SMM marathon, I got into a Noirvember mood this week. It is a good excuse to clear many of the film noir titles that are currently sitting on the DVR. That space will probably be needed shortly for someone to record Hallmark Christmas movies, anyway.

    DEAD RECKONING (1947) – Starring noir icons Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott, this story of a man caught up in a solving his war buddy’s disappearance is textbook film noir to a fault. The plotlines come from previous films, and the Bogart image is the same one presented throughout the 1940s. Although Dead Reckoning is far from being a waste of time, there are other Bogart films one should watch before this.

    DESPERATE (1947, dir. Anthony Mann) – I forgot that I had seen this before, but I really enjoyed watching it again. This is as a solid noir about a truck driver who unwittingly gets drawn into a warehouse robbery. When things go wrong, he is goes on the run from the police and the gang. The lighting is classic film noir, and Raymond Burr plays a memorable heavy trying to get revenge. One worth seeking out.

    711 OCEAN DRIVE (1950) – A tale of a horse race betting racket in Los Angeles. Film noir regular Edmond O’Brien goes from humble telephone worker to head of the west coast syndicate in a classic rise and fall narrative. It is entertaining but not what I would consider essential film noir. The concluding sequence at Boulder Dam is memorable, though.


  2. Barbarian (2022 HBOMax)

    Made by "Whitest Kids U Know" Guy?? ( 7 words!)

    Cant stop the horror train just cuz its November. This flick is great! Go in as cold as you can..dont google or look up anything...just watch it. VERY creative. Amazing performances from all involved. Tone/Tension for days. And pleasant surprises without feeling like they are contrived. For me its like the discovery of last years Malignant.

    Cheers y'all!

  3. My five favorite first-time watches of #ScaryMovieMonth (in no particular order):

    MADELINES (2022), a macabre comedy with a twisty-turny time travel plot. It's a showcase for actress Brea Grant, with her playing multiple characters.

    UNSANE (2018) Soderbergh plays at being Hitchcock in this thriller that does a terrific job of keeping you guessing as to what's really going on the whole time.

    CANDYMAN (2021) It's rare to find a movie that wants to make a big important statement, but is also really sleek and cool. That's this one. It's also a legacy sequel done right, in that this is its own movie, and you don't need to see the previous ones to enjoy it.

    CASPER (1995) Yes, I'd never seen it before now. I expected it to be silly, and it certainly is, but then the movie slows down at times and gets really, really sad. Applause to the filmmakers for not only including these tear-jerking moments, but for handling them so well.

    CROCODILE (2000) Tobe Hooper! No, this isn't an all-timer like Texas Chainsaw or Poltergeist, but I wonder if Tobe was going for something here. Like, it's the same playbook as TCM, with young people cluelessly walking into an unthinkable situation, but instead of sweaty 70s griminess, it's clean 2000s digital camera-ness. Did Tobe look at the movies of that era (era) and decide to make that style his own? Or maybe I'm wrong and he just needed a paycheck. Either way, it's a super-fun low-budget creature feature.

    1. I'll check out Madelines, it looks interesting, and I love time travel movies. It's got a super low IMDB rating! That either means it's very good or very bad, but I'll take your word that it's the former.

      I also watched Casper for the first time. It was very fun and sweet, and sad at moments as you said. I have to thank A. Riske for getting me to watch it, as I had always assumed it wasn't worth checking out.

      My first time Hooper watch was The Mangler! I loved how over the top Robert Englund was, just dancing and cackling while that horrific machine was chomping people up! The movie was just dripping with atmosphere, and I loved it. All the gears, steam and chains. It ALSO has low IMDB rating, validating what I said above.

    2. The mention of IMDB ratings reminds of when I was first getting into exploitation films. If a mainstream movie fan hated something, I might enjoy it. Reading bad or outraged reviews would tip me off that a film had the potential to be a weird or sleazy good time.

  4. Hi gang! Hope everyone's enjoying the weekend.

    I got through 70 movies during Scary Movie Month, 55 of them first time watches (>list). My top 5 first-times:

    Carnival of Souls (1962) - Definitely the best of the month. A microbudget b&w movie with a really unnerving atmosphere and a cool idea. I really liked it even though I already knew the ending going in, but I recommend staying away from spoilers and checking it out.

    Nina Forever (2015) - Rob and Patrick already said everything that needs to be said. It's great.

    Bloodstone: Subspecies II (1993) - Saw the first one years ago and forgot it pretty quickly, but the sequel is much better. Anders Hove is a great vampire and there's a cool mummy creature, plus the story's much more interesting than the first one's vampire-cliché-fest.

    Night Killer (1990) - A totally unhinged Italian horror with sleaze, gore, weird psychosexual overtones, and a lack of anything recognizable as human behavior or logic.

    28 Weeks Later (2007) - Like the idea of setting it during the cleanup after a "zombie" outbreak (yeah yeah, they're not really zombies, I know), and it's a pretty thrilling movie. And I like Imogen Poots.

    After SMM it's been a little slower, but I saw the original Death Wish for the first time (it's fine), The Lost City (it's pretty fun), and a film called A Sunday Horse (it's bad) just because William Shatner's in it. And now I'm about to rewatch Full Metal Jacket ahead of the Blank Check podcast covering it tomorrow. I don't think I've seen it since I was a teenager, remember very little.

  5. Here are my top five first-time watches of Scary Movie Month. Most are mainstream, but I did make an effort to catch up with some of the bigger horror titles I had not watched before.

    CARRIE (1976) - I had only seen parts of Brian DePalma's classic before October. Great performances (Piper Laurie!) and a terrific set-piece at the prom. Carrie walking through the flames covered in blood is a terrific image.

    DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW (1981) - This made-for-TV movie was one of the more memorable watches because it engaged me so much on an emotional level. Charles Durning's performance truly makes you despise his character.

    THE MIST (2007) - This is one of the few Stephen King stories I read in the 1990s that has stuck with me. Such a scary and hopeless tale. Frank Darabont made an excellent adaptation of it. I could not help thinking of how Americans reacted to the pandemic while watching this.

    WITCHHAMMER (1970) - A Czech production that delves into a 17th-century witchhunt and, by extension, the persecutions of the communist period. The confluence of power and greed is what made this the bleakest watch of the month.

    CORALINE (2009) - An impressive visual achievement with good storytelling. The effort required to create this kind of film is hard to imagine.

    Honorable mentions: MARTIN (1977); CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER (1959); THE GRAPES OF DEATH (1978); THE SWARM (1978)

  6. I enjoy reading other folks' SMM summaries, so I suppose I'll throw my own in. I was able to watch 42 scary movies last month (pretty sure it was my most prolific SMM yet), 38 of which were first-time watches.

    All four rewatches were highlights. It had been at least 5 years (maybel longer) since I'd seen The Exorcist, and it was even better than I remembered. The Invitation also lost zero shine upon a first rewatch since it came out. I saw the original Dawn of the Dead in a theater in 3-D, and although the 3-D didn't add a ton, the audience was great and added to the experience, and we all enjoyed a few zombie heads exploding into our laps. For Halloween night, we got together with some friends and watched Tusk. I think it was the first time for everyone else, and it played like gangbusters in a group setting. I really think the high points of that movie are A+ stuff (Michael Parks should monologue in every scary movie), and the slower sections (looking at you, Guy LaPointe) don't drag us much when there's a bit of crowd commentary.

    For first-time watches, my highlights were...

    Detention (2011) - Much more of a genre mashup than straight horror, but it was fun as heck, and reminded me a lot of Everything Everywhere All at Once in its pinball disregard for genre and "universe mechanics" in preference of sheer rapid-fire fun (forget the multiverse; the multiverse doesn't matter!).

    Ginger Snaps (2000) - The budget is definitely showing on the (I don't think I'm spoiling anything here) werewolf makeup/effects, but if you can accept that, this movie just rips. There's a bit of is-this-too-witty-and-precious-for-it's-own-good in the opening, but that's eventually turned on its head in a very satisfying way as the movie morphs into a much more sincere werewolf horror flick. Loved this one.

    Audition (1999) - Super slow burn, but keeps the creepy tension meter pinned the whole time, and pays off with the all time best ASMR gross-out finale.

    The Descent (2005) - Nothing groundbreaking--just a well made wire-to-wire suspenseful ride. My girlfriend's review was basically, "I had zero interest in spelunking when they first dropped into the cave, BEFORE any horror movie elements showed up," and the movie really does start at highway speed and only ratchets things up from there.

    The Perfection (2018) - This one may not hit as hard on a second watch, once the twists have lost a bit of surprise factor, but it's really fun the first time through. At about the two-thirds mark, I had an "Ohhh, wouldn't it be insane if they did this" make-a-wish moment, and then they did it, and it was as satisfying as I'd hoped it could be.

    Body Bags (1993) - This was maybe my favorite discover of SMM. The first 2/3 of the movie hit just about perfectly for me. The interstitials with Carpenter in the morgue are delightfully funny and gross. The gas station segment is the scariest and most suspenseful (while still keeping a bit of a goofy/fun tone), and I thought the hair segment was hilarious. I did like the third segment (eyeball transplant), but it just didn't quite clear the high bar of the other parts for me--mostly, I think, because southern accent Luke Skywalker was a little distracting (but still fun!).

    As for this weekend(ish), it was a great return to the theater after a real dry spell over the past few weeks. In three consecutive days, I saw Triangle of Sadness, TÁR, and The Banshees of Inisherin, all of which I liked quite a bit. TÁR was the most interesting and ambitious, and the one I'm most eager to revisit (I enjoyed reading Anthony's post on this one!). Banshees was very funny, very sad, and the most up-my-alley. And Triangle of Sadness was the zaniest, bursting with I-don't-care-if-it's-obvious energy. All three will probably be in my top 15 for the year, and it was great to have a strong slate of new movies on the big screen again!

  7. ENOLA HOLMES 2 has my heart.

    ENOLA HOLMES, EMMA (2020), CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY (2022)...this trend of feminist historical dramedies makes me so happy. At first I was wary. I felt like someone behind the movie was smirking at me and saying "You WOULD like this, heh heh". But you know what? I've never found a genre I trust so much, that I think "gets me", that reliably gets things so right, and hits the notes and checks the boxes I've been waiting for. So BRAVO, I say.

    1. I really liked the first Enola. I'm sure i'll like the second as much

    2. I hope you like it. The second one has a harder job than the first, I think. To keep things quality while being unavoidably more predictable.

    3. Enola 2 was fun, i hope they make more. I'm usually not a fan of Millie Bobby Brown, but that's because she's never been in anything i liked (yes, that includes Stranger Things), but here she's great in a fun movie

    4. Yup. As much as I was waiting for all the lines and acting to be on point in this, I was waiting to roll my eyes if it went wrong, too. (Couldn't help it, just high expectations.) She and all the mains landed it.

      Happy election week to everyone in the US. Please vote!

    5. ****SPOILERS****

      I did roll my eyes at the MORIARTY part. Same as i roll them at Joker in a new Batman reboot. At least they waited for the second movie to do it

    6. ****SPOILERS FOR ENOLA HOLMES 2******
      Lol. You know what. I didn't want to make a big deal of it, but so did I at that part. It was very explicit. Even almost the walk-out scene. But at least I'm going to imagine the walk out scene was a true life event so at least that's cool.
      All I can hope is that their love story is good in the next one.

    7. And, I hate the Joker in every movie. He's not funny, he's not scary, and everyone has mental health issues so I don't understand how he's a thing.

    8. Yeah, the walk-out scene was not great, but at that point the movie was almost done, so i was ok with it, they didn't pile on. The end text explaining the real-life event caught me by surprise because i didn't expect a real-life event in a Sherlock Holmes story (or Enola Holmes in this case)

  8. Also watched MISS JULIE (2014) with Colin Farrell, Jessica Chastain and Samantha Morton. It's good IF you can handle a lot of existential anxiety. If not, not recommended. Colin Farrell is an amazing actor. And I didn't like Jessica Chastain before but I have respect for her after the breakdown scenes. I thought the casting, hair, makeup and costume choices were super strong.

  9. TÁR - - I'm not saying I thought it was bad but I am saying that damn I couldn't wait 'til that shit was over.