Have you ever heard of a movie called Bite? No? I hadn’t either until maybe two weeks ago when it appeared on the schedule for the local Alamo Drafthouse. I decided to take a peek and see what it was all about. Turns out it is an independent horror film that is said to be very gross and has drawn comparisons to Cronenberg’s The Fly. Now, we all know how good that take on The Fly is, so I could not really buy into the positive comparison. Still, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. Like a soldier with his marching orders, I dutifully went and checked the film out the other night, hoping for the best.
Chiller has come and gone once again. With the first Monster Mania and Chiller under my belt, the 2016 convention season is in full swing. Granted, there are not many more that I will be attending, but it will be hard to get away from them. It seems like there is one every weekend through the next few months. In any case, this one proved to be another successful run. Sure, I only go for a day, but there is only so much I can do before I am completely exhausted. Still, it was a very successful and full day.
Demolition is one of those movies that I was interested in but cannot say I had terribly high expectations for it. There was something about it that just seemed different. It was something about how the trailer transitioned from a tragedy to a comedy with a death followed by an annoyance over Peanut M&Ms. There there was the introduction of another woman, via response over said candy annoyance that indicated a potential new romance on the heels of a dead wife. Beyond that, the central character seemed somewhat off. It was interesting enough to draw me in.
The horror genre can be a tough nut to crack. There are so many different varieties, styles, sub genres, places to draw inspiration from, and countless variables to consider. It just may be the one type of film that can come in the most flavors. Do you like your horror with a side of blood? Perhaps you are partial to psychological chillers. Do you prefer serial killers or slashing creatures of the night? Vampires or zombies? The possibilities are endless. With the case of Darling, writer/director Mickey Keating has gone the internalizing route, making a movie that is stripped down to its bare essence with the majority left to the imagination.
As you know, it took a long time for me to get into horror movies. In my early days of movie fandom, but before I truly become a horror aficionado, I would peruse the horror racks at the video store where I worked. I would check out the mainstays like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, but I would also check out things like The Surgeon, The Dentist, and Dr. Giggles. Then there was Trick or Treat. It was an odd little title that liked to trumpet the cameos of Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne, looking for some metal street cred. It is a campy movie that is easy to dismiss, but you shouldn’t.
Many years ago, I recall talking with friends about the possibility of and technical difficulties associated with making a movie in the first person. You know, how to progress the narrative, telling the story in real time, and how to hide the camera. It was a conversation that did not last long. Little did we know the style had already been pioneered way back in 1947 in the Raymond Chandler adaptation Lady in the Lake. Granted, I have not seen it, but I am intrigued. Then there is the FPS sequence in the game adaptation Doom, which was pretty well done. Also, in 2013 we got a remake of the mean and nasty Maniac, putting you in the head of a killer. Now have the first first-person action film, Hardcore Henry.
Ever hear of the movie Summer Camp? I hadn’t either until it recently popped up on the schedule for a local movie theater. The title did not sound all that exciting, so I was going to pass on it, but considering it did not even have a poster, I clicked the link to see if there was a trailer. To my surprise it turned out to be a horror movie. All right, I can get behind this. The trailer seemed decent, with some blood and gore, and an old school feel to the proceedings. So, sure, yeah, I’ll go and check it out. While it is not exactly a shining piece of original film making, it was surprisingly good and I am glad I decided to click the mysterious blank link.
So, did anyone else see The Bronze? I know there are some of you out there, it has made $.5 million as of this writing. The next question would be how many of you would admit to it if you did. It is not a good movie, although, to be fair, I have seen worse this year. On some level I think you could say I enjoyed it. Still, this is not a movie that much effort was made in terms of marketing it. One of my first thoughts as I walked out of the theater was wondering just who this movie was made for. It was an entity without a purpose. A comedy without the drive, a drama without the heart. Why was this made?
I remember the night the trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane hit theaters, it was with 13 Hours (a movie I did not see). The only reason I knew was that posts started popping up talking about a Cloverfield sequel. Needless to say, I was excited. How did they make this without anyone knowing? Was it a direct sequel? What is the connection? So many questions based on the fact that a trailer just appeared. I am a big of Cloverfield, so this jumped up my anticipation list. Of course, since then many facts about it have been revealed, but to be honest, most of that was secondary to how good the movie is. Seriously, when it comes down to it, it is always about the movie.
So, the other day I had the opportunity to see an early screening of Midnight Special. I jumped at the chance, having been rather intrigued by the trailer. I was also intrigued to see what writer/director Jeff Nichols would do with a science fiction film, following a couple really good dramas in Mud and Take Shelter. Not to mention Michael Shannon is an excellent actor. On top of seeing the film, there was the added bonus of a Mondo 7” vinyl containing a couple of tracks from the soundtrack. So, how did it turn out? Well, good and bad, leaving the experience decidedly in the middle of the road with its ultimate fate yet to be decided.
I sit here contemplating if I should bother writing about this movie. There is both good and bad to the movie, but no real effect to be done by my words. Besides, I have seen what it has turned my Facebook feed into. It is at a level of disharmony that I thought was reserved for political discussion, which I generally try to avoid (generally). On top of that, there has already been so much written about the film that anything I saw would disappear into the echo chamber (pretty much like everything else I write). Not to mention the cyclical, few times a year, backlash against critics, including a crazy claim of writers being paid off for bad reviews. Ridiculous.
When I first saw the trailer for The Brothers Grimsby, I can honestly say I was not sure what to expect. It looked like a comic take on a mismatched buddy action film. It also had bits of a fish out of water story, not to mention a little long lost family emotional pull. On the hand, it is also a Sacha Baron Cohen film, and not one with him in it, more like one where he is the creative driving force, like Borat, Bruno, and The Dictator. Still, it pairs him with co-star Mark Strong and action director Louis Leterrier. Whatever this thing was, the trailer looked awfully straightforward. Well, believe me when I say the trailer does not even hint at what you see in the movie.
I have written about Monster Mania before, and if you have read those, there isn’t a heck of a lot more to say. The experiences are all similar, yet different. Monster Mania is becoming a family reunion with the folks you want to spend time with. Every show I go to, I see old friends, make new friends, meet some great celebrities, see some cool art and merchandise, and always leave exhausted but wanting more. Sure, people will complain about guest lists, or cost, but there is so much more to these events than that. Focus on the positive and there is no way you can’t have a good time.
The Oscars are tomorrow night. That means it is time for another round of Hollywood backslapping. Funny thing is, I still kind of enjoy watching the show It can be silly, stupid, boring, and yes, even exciting. Over the years I have seen my tastes go from being pretty in line with those films that get nominated to being quite a bit different. It is to the point that if a movie I legitimately love gets nominated, I get quite happy. In any case, I thought I would give a quick rundown of my guesses and predictions, if any of you actually care. So, anyone interested?