Movies you've seen recently

Just watched Halloween (2018) on UK TV which both attempts to relaunch the Halloween franchise (which it succeeded at since it led to Halloween Kills which is in cinemas now) plus it is a direct sequel to the very first Halloween (1978). It ignores all the other sequels and remakes.

Initially the film follows a tedious and unlikely pair of British internet journalists. Pretty early on Michael escapes from captivity and begins killing people.

It’s a standard Slasher film which regularly acknowledges the 1978 film including the 40 year passage of time. It’s entertaining enough if you like these sort of films. I used to when I was younger. But as with all these films the (61 year old) killer is invincible surviving being shot, stabbed, hit by iron bars and a car… After 40 years I am losing interest. The film has nothing new or special to add to the genre.

I’ve read the finished film was edited down from a longer initial version. That might explain the jarring scene where Jamie Lee Curtis, who spends most of the film completely disciplined and devoting herself to preparing for a showdown with Michael - similar to the set up for the film Terminator 2, arrives at a family meal and grabs a glass of wine and next breaks down in tears. Alcoholic on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Only in that one scene.

Anyway. It’s a serviceable Slasher Film but nowhere near as iconic as the original.

TCMF-2L

Took my youngest to see Ron’s gone wrong
I was actually quite ok . Social media lessons and friendship, but I think it would be aimed for kids younger than about 10.

I’m surprised to learn you didn’t like this one as we seemingly share a taste for a lot of the same films. It’s in my top 15.

I watched The Other Lamb (Hulu). More drama than horror, it’s about a religious cult comprised of a “flock” of women and their male leader, whom they call “Shepherd”. It’s got a bit of Handmaid Tale vibes, with the females divided into wives and daughters who wear blue or red dresses, depending on their status. Also like HT, the story centers on one young woman who has a strong, independent streak.

We don’t know exactly when or where this is supposed to take place and the horror element is largely the premise itself: the womens’ blind devotion to the abusive leader.

I found it visually interesting and would recommend it with the caveat that the ending isn’t as satisfying as you’d like.

My latest five:

Shadowlands
Well-acted tearjerker about a prim, bookish C.S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) falling, much to his own surprise, for a feisty American woman (Debra Winger) who’s a fan of his work. She later struggles with cancer even as they try to build a life together. A nicely-realized Oxford setting.

8 1/2
Fellini’s surreal comedy-romance-drama about an aging film director in early Sixties Italy who’s unable to focus on his next big picture because of his midlife crisis, writer’s block and wandering eye for the ladies. Got great reviews but just not my cup of tea, er, cappuccino.

Zombieland: Double Tap
A pretty good sequel to Zombieland, with all four of the main cast returning and a funny and on-target cameo at the very end by a former SNL star you’ll recognize at once. If you like zomcoms, this one’s for you.

Dune
Saw the new version and mostly liked it although, as others have noted, it does end somewhat abruptly. Some great action sequences and impressive visuals (the ornithopters are particularly well-done); the cast is excellent but I’m not quite convinced the young actor playing Paul was up to the challenge. Still, I really hope they film the second movie and tell the entire tale.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Another worthwhile sequel that’s a lot of fun, with two particularly good action sequences: Rocket Raccoon takes on a bunch o’ bad guys in a forest at night, and Yondu busts out of confinement on a starship, taking no prisoners.

I saw Dune on Saturday. Now, I’ve never read the novels but I did see the David Lynch movie years ago. I liked it though it is incomplete so I hope they’re able to produce the sequel.

On Sunday, I saw The French Dispatch. My suspicion is that you either like or hate Wes Anderson movies. I liked this one, not as much as some of his movies but more than some others.

Did you find the opening 60 minutes or so kind of overly-expositiony? They had to get Paul and family to Dune(Arrakis) and get them betrayed as quickly as humanly possible. It’s a lot of book content crammed in a short and, I thought, choppy time.

No, it wasn’t too bad. But I was sitting there trying to understand the scope of some of the ships they used. Like the landing craft looked enormous, but they looked tiny compared to the interplanetary craft they came from.

I just watched Roger Corman’s 1994 epic Fantastic Four . Cheap special effects aside, it is truer to the actual origin story of the FF than any of the other bloated productions that came later. The acting didn’t make me cringe, and their version of Doctor Doom really reminded me of the comic I grew up with.

Finally watched Black Widow. It was fine - lots of attractive young women running around beating each other up while two fat old men say funny things.

But it did remind me that what I originally liked about the Black Widow character wasn’t her ability to outpunch her foes; it was her ability to outthink them. My absolute favorite moments in the entire MCU franchise (not counting the animated “Spider-verse”) were the two BW interrogation scenes in the original Avengers film. Here was a character that we could actually watch outsmarting the bad guys and not just by the sudden revelation of “Ha ha - I am using McGuffin tech device that magically makes me look and sound like someone else, and/or has concealed weapons or hacks computers etc etc etc!”. This film, though? Punching, explosions and McGuffins galore.

Yes, I get that people want punching and shooting and explosions and plane crashes - you know, “action” - in an action film, but tbh after a while it just gets dull without something to actually engage the brain occasionally. 'Tis a pity she’s dead, but now we have a whole new attractive young woman to go around mindlessly punching and shooting things. Yay.

Watched a bizarre German film called Look Who’s Back

Adolf Hitler wakes up to find himself in the 21st century where his bunker used to be, with no memory of anything after 1945. Interpreting modern situations from a Nazi perspective, he finds fame and success as a comedian.

It was actually quite a funny piece of satire to be honest. But very damning. Because a lot of the film shows the actor playing Hitler interacting with members of the public in unscripted candid ways. You see people who believe the actor is a genuine Hitler fan just like them. They reveal their own support of Nazi ideology on camera. You see young people totally ignorant of history and taking selfies as if a guy dressing up as Hitler is no different to all the Elvis impersonators out there. But you also see some good people who seeing a guy dressed up as Hitler in public berate the actor (not knowing he is an actor) for dressing up as one of the most evil people to ever exist and educate the crimes against humanity that were committed in that ideology.

The purpose of the movie (at least my takeaway from it) is that an undercurrent of this evil way of thinking has always permeated in society and if this is being able to be revealed through a satirical movie on the streets of Berlin where a dude literally dresses up like Hitler then it is extremely dangerous what is going on in the darker corners where these ideologues congregate.

I agree, though. I started watching the Avengers movies in order to catch up to everyone I know in terms of pop culture and I enjoyed them for the most part, but I get bored quickly with the punchy-shooty parts. Like you said, I know that’s part of the point of the movie, but… a little goes a long way.

Anyway, I just finished The Incredibles 2 (speaking of superhero movies where they don’t overdo the fight scenes). I’m exhausted after work, but didn’t want to actually go to bed at 7:30. It was just the right balance of familiar and interesting, neither mindless nor too challenging.

I love the Incredibles movies. The second was a pretty good sequel, although as usual, they didn’t quite recapture the magic and freshness of the first.

Titane

Parasite became the first foreign film to win Best Picture just a couple years ago. Will Titane be the next? No. It’s content is too weird and, well, shocking to ever be a contender for that prize. However, this is one of the movies of the year.

Lordy, what a movie. Goodness gracious, what a film. I was downright blown away at parts of this film. The first 30 minutes look like a very strange movie, but boy oh boy, it takes some real turns after that. What a strange and completely gripping movie.

I’m kind of speechless thinking about Titane. I think it is the best example this year of “movie you need to just see knowing almost nothing about it”. So much so, it’s plot description from the creators is just:

I love how that is both totally right…and has nothing to do with the movie.

I think everyone should check this out. It’s a $5 rental right now through Microsoft and while I rather doubt it will have the wide appeal of Squid Games, Parasite, or some other foreign language stuff out there right now, it is certainly stunning and one of the best(strangest?) movies of the year.

French, if you are wondering. It’s in French with English subtitles.

Microsoft rents movies?

Saw the new James Bond. Anyone but me have trouble understanding a word Rami Malek said? We got nothing.

It’s right here, though it is now $6 instead of $5.

Yes, within the last couple of weeks I’ve seen two action flicks. “Gunpowder Milkshake” with a surprisingly good cast of Paul Giamatti, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, and Lena Headey has mayhem and humor. “Jolt”, with Kate Beckinsale, Bobby Carnavale, and Jai Courtney as the consummate villain has both as well.

Watched Inside Job (no relation to the new Netflix series I’m also watching) about the lead-up to the 2008 financial crash. I knew pretty much all the details but the film puts them all together to reveal the disturbing patterns, and particularly the pipeline of Wall Street execs into government positions across multiple administrations from Reagan to Obama that allowed them to hobble any attempts to regulate Wall Street. Really quite depressing.

I watched this movie from 1933 last night : The Private Life of Henry VIII

It is quite a funny take for a historical depiction in that era. I had expected it to be prudish. At least as much as you can when the film is about a monarch who married six times with three wives having their heads chopped off. Charles Laughton won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as the infamous king. He is familiar to me as Quasimodo in the 1939 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame and as Sir Wilfried in the 1957 movie Witness for the Prosecution.

Robert Donat also is a familiar face in the Henry VIII movie. I watched him put in a wonderful performance as Richard Hannay in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 adaptation of The 39 Steps last year and previously Goodbye, Mr Chips for which he won an Academy Award too for Best Actor in 1939.

The Night Eats The World
Well done zombie flick set in Paris, but (I can’t believe I’m saying this) it offers absolutely nothing new to the Living Dead mythos. Still, worth a look.

Prometheus
Incredible set design, good special effects, writers fell asleep. What is the point of this movie?

The Thing (2011)
Prequel to the John Carpenter film. Well acted, icky special effects, only comes alive in the last five minutes when they rush to present the tie-in to the Kurt Russell version.

The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism
Based on Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum, this stars Christopher Lee as Count Regula who is executed by the townsfolk but comes back from the dead 35 years later to finish his Elixir of Eternal Life. Interesting sets, striking color photography, beautiful women, story wanders. Best thing, really, is the title.