Clown

“This was certainly a what-the-\m/-did-I-just-watch movies. Love those! Remember our buddy and current master of horror Eli Roth? He’s a producer on this chiller which is what got in on my radar. I knew nothing about it going in except that it was a horror movie about a clown. Well alrighty then.

Right from the beginning I was thrown off guard from what the very messed up premise actually ended up being. I was expecting a sort of Pennywise/AHS S4 psycho clown story. We got there eventually, but where we started was just some average joe dad who finds a clown suit to put on for his kid’s birthday party. But then he can’t take the suit off. Over time the suit overtakes him and instills a bloodlust and then we’ve got our psycho clown killer.

Besides the unexpected starting spot, where this movie really scored points with me was the gore. I haven’t seen such creative and disturbing use of fake blood in quite a while. Hats off to you, Jon Watts, who IMDB tells me is helming the next Spiderman. I’m gonna be expecting some great things from you in the future.

Oh I should also note that this was the first time I was able to sit back and relax in the apartment, having finished setting it up earlier that day. So not a bad choice to kick off the party in Gallifrey, and certainly a great way to start the spooky season we’re approaching”

The Magnificent Seven

“Heh, so I made a big deal about my new Thur movie routine, and I haven’t exactly stuck to it. Well, the Thur movies have happened, but I decided to shop around and check out the neighboring theaters before committing to the one. Although so far that one’s still my favorite.

I had mixed feelings about seeing this. Were I back in my old Boston movie routine, no question. Now, well it was the only viable option from what was out there, so I basically went for the sake of going, but could have easily skipped it if scheduling would have required. And that’s sort of how the movie went too.

I don’t particularly care for westerns, but I could certainly get behind this cast, particularly Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke. Nothing too groundbreaking storywise. Some cool action sequences if you’re into the genre.

Basically I’m ready for September to be over so we can start getting into some good movies

The Magnificent Seven – \m/ \m/ \m/”

Snowden

“I am this close to finishing setting up the apartment, at which point I will be out of excuses for slacking on the blog. But first, I’m making myself write up the next post.

After seeing this movie, I’m kinda scared to write this post. Am I gonna be on a list somewhere? Was the NSA already tracking me? Does any of it matter in the grand scheme of things? Whatever, I’m not censoring myself. Mostly.

When Mom and I went to see the new Independence Day, I’d gone in first to get us seats and she came in a few min later. She did so as the last piece of the Snowden trailer was playing. She turns and looks at the screen, “”is that the guy that betrayed us”” she said before sitting down. I was inwardly fuming. The situation is far more complex than that and I am not so quick to dismiss him as a traitor as others are. Yet another shining example of the many many things we fundamentally disagree on.

One of the first (if not the first) clips of Last Week Tonight that I ever saw was the one where John Oliver interviewed Edward Snowden in Russia. That clip changed everything for me. It began my John Oliver obsession, which in turn finally sparked my interest in politics and current affairs (something I’d resisted for nearly 30 years). Plus it explained what the whole Snowden/NSA situation is by putting it in easy (and humorous!) terms. I urge you, if you have not seen that, take thirty minutes out of your day and watch the clip. It’s absolutely worth it.

Having had my interest sparked from that, I was very much looking forward to this film. I wanted to get into the details of what he did and why and how and what it all meant. The film was utterly fascinating. Seeing the world that he lived in and the secrets that are being kept and the way he uncovered it and the internal conflicts he had were incredible. And oh, one of Joseph Gorden-Levitt’s best roles ever (distracting deep voice not withstanding). I almost don’t really wanna talk too much more about the movie because it’s something that you have to experience and form your own opinions on.

At least for me, it did help solidify where I stand on the debate. I agree that the conversations that sprung from Snowden’s actions are necessary ones that we need to have. Yes, he broke the law. And yes, even though others broke the law, I do agree that two wrongs don’t make a right. But what he did was get the information out in a way that would get attention, and he was willing to take responsibility for his actions. I may not agree with every step he took, I stand behind what he did. And oh God, I’m on a list now, aren’t I? If we never see another post from me, you can infer what happened…

Snowden – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

Labyrinth

“This is driving me crazy. I can’t hear or see the word “”Labyrinth”” without my brain spelling it phonetically in my head. So annoying. I’m weird.

Anyways, at my first big LA party a couple days after I moved, one of my friends was soliciting movie buddies for a screening of Labyrinth that next weekend. Um, yes please! One it was a chance to be social without needing to cling onto my usual LA connection and two, when have you known me to ever turn down a movie?

And of course the magic of Jim Hensen holds up thirty years later. Sure there may have been a couple of older technologies that didn’t carry over, but most if it did. There was a really cool behind the scenes reel that played beforehand with interviews and footage on the set and other fun stuff. I’ve certainly seen this movie a couple times (hell, I own it on BluRay), but as always, watching it in a theater really forces you to pay attention. It was lovely.

David Bowie is the man. Puppets are awesome. Hensen’s imagination knows no bounds. Humor and heart are a great combination. This post is not coherent.”

Sully

“Oh noes! I ran out of blog posts! For the first time in (at least) months, I missed a day. Oops. Thing is, I’ve been so desperate to finish unpacking and get settled, that blogging and movie watching has been put on the backburner. Besides, it was only yesterday that I unboxed the last of the movies (and I’ve still got way more non-moves to unbox) and I’d previously spoken about how ticket prices make me wanna be more selective about going to the movies, especially during the September graveyard. But I am starting to fall into a routine, a key part of which is the Thur evening new release. Found a nice theater that’s super easy to get to, and it frees up my weekend for theme parks and such (or more unpacking).

Sully was the movie that kicked things off. Much of what I’d read about it over the following weekend was commenting on what it was like to watch a movie where you know the ending. For me, knowing the ending made the anxiety bearable, because the suspense built throughout key scenes was palpable, spoilers or not. Hats off to director (and Hollywood legend) Clint Eastwood.

And points for the cast. Not just Tom Hanks. We know he’s the go to guy for all American Joe hero. So let’s talk about the supporting casts. Aaron Eckhart, where have you been hiding lately? His turn as Sully’s co-pilot was the best we’ve seen from him in a long while, and it was an unexpected burst of energy and heart. I was also amused by how many other actors I recognized in smaller roles Sam Huntington, Jerry Ferrara, Anna Gunn, Mike O’Malley, that dude that played Karofsky on Glee, that dude from Fight Club and Heroes whose name I can never remember. That’s what having such a prestigious director on board can do. Love it.

As much as I’m raving about the movie, I don’t know that it’ll even still be in my mind in a couple weeks. But at least for those two hours in the theater, it was certainly worth being there.

Sully – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n”

The Light Between Oceans

“Back to my first weekend in LA, if I hadn’t had the sticker shock yet of realizing just how much it was gonna maintain my movie habit at current levels, I may have just skipped this movie. Admittedly, most of my slow down in the weeks since has to do with lack of time and lack of quality choices (yay back to school September slowdown!).

While the movie does have a classic romantic feel to me, which would be a turnoff, my draw to the film was twofold. One, our leads Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, both of whom are forces to reckon with when given the right material, as was the case here. Two, the story sounded unique and kinda dark to me. I like unique and I like dark. Our power couple are a married couple living in seclusion at a lighthouse in Australia (I somehow missed the Australia part when I saw it). After failed attempts at having children, a small boat washes ashore with an infant and her mysteriously deceased father. The two argue over the right path to take, but ultimately decide to secretly adopt the child and pass her off as their own. Some time later, while taking some time off in town, they encounter the woman who may be the rightful mother.

This feels like one of those slow and sweeping period dramas of the early 90s. That’s not necessarily a criticism, merely an observation, especially since this flavor of heavy hitter is a little rare nowadays. And yes, it hit very heavy. I’m so used to the crowd pleasers that have saturated the theaters recently, that when this film took a turn less traveled, it had great impact. Certainly the type of movie that gets you thinking and questioning.

I’m not even gonna bother talking about how brilliant our leads were, because it’ll just be a gushy mess. I will just quickly say that this may be Vikander’s best role to date, even moreso than her Oscar winning turn last year in The Danish Girl. Fassbender likewise is at his best with solid material.

Anyways, well done, though not necessarily for everyone. On the entertainment level, it does drag on a bit, so I feel like one watch was enough. But it was a good watch

The Light Between Oceans – \m/ \m/ \m/”

The Hollars

“And now we get to movies seen after I hit the giant Ctrl+Alt+Del buttons on my life and restarted out here in Cali. Right now, I’m waiting for the movers who while technically are still within the window they’d given me, are much later than I’d have liked. And my shiny new giant orange truck is getting some work done and should have been done, but no one I talk to stays on long enough to give me a status update. And all I want is to get all that settled so I can go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with my peeps this afternoon.

So the first post-move movie outing was a bit of a learning experience. I’ve seen a bunch of movies out here over the years while tourist-ing around, but this was a bit different. When I excitedly realized I had a free afternoon and my own transportation and access to pretty much any movie I wanted, I chose a pair of films at a theater way on the other side of town. While I budgeted extra “”get there”” time, I totally forgot about “”parking time”” (lesson 1). Got there too late for the movie and they wouldn’t let me in. Boo. I also realized just how expensive tickets are out here (lesson 2). No more are the days where I can catch an early discount movie at a giant cineplex and then wander into another screening. No, here, tix run at about 15 bucks and it’s all reserved seating. So if I had been on time, tickets alone would have set me back by $30 plus the food I was planning to get. Maybe I need to be more selective about what I choose to see out here. Or I need to get creative about finding cheap movies somewhere…Oh and lesson 3 is that just bc something is playing somewhere in town that I can get to, it might not necessarily be worth a trek out of West LA.

Frustrated, I decided not to hang around that theater for the later film (even though I ended up having to pay for my 5 min of parking, lame!) I went back down towards my side of the city and caught one of those movies at a closer theater. And that leads us all to, damn you John Krasinski for doing your job so well! Had not seen a single trailer or even mention of The Hollars leading up to his release. But then suddenly John was all over late night (which I watch in YouTube clips every morning) talking about this fantastic movie with this amazing cast that has seriously everybody, and before I knew it, it was a priority flick for me. I don’t even know how that happened.

When I say this movie has everybody, I really do mean everybody. Margo Martindale, Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Josh Groban, Randall Park, and Krasinki pulling double duty as director (I think maybe even producer too). It’s a family story, kind of a dramedy. Light hearted but sometimes heavy handed. Funny but dealing with serious matters. Matriarch Martindale is suddenly hospitalized with something very serious and Krasinski comes back from big city life in NYC to be with his family in the small town he grew up in and tried to escape from. It’s tough to give an enticing synopsis, but it was really all about the feeling of it. The film felt real. Like real people and what they go through and what real relationships are with their ups and downs. I’ll admit, the emotional element even got to me towards the end.

The cast was absolutely fantastic, especially our parentals Martindale and Jenkins. These are two treasured actors who don’t get enough due attention, and this film provides a marvelous showcase for them both, especially Martindale. Even if you don’t recognize them by name, I’m sure you’ll know them by sight and instantly recall some great bit parts you’ve seen them in before. That should be enough to spark an interest here.

Yeah so I was very pleased with this movie. Certainly worthy of more attention than it’s getting, but deserving of all the love it is receiving by those who’ve seen it (me included). Hopefully this gem will be discovered by the masses on streaming media soon.

The Hollars – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

Don’t Breathe

“I’ve now been in LA for a week and day, but I still haven’t posted my final Boston movie from my last full day in town. Good thing I had enough posts queued up to get me thru til now, but I’ve gotta get back to it. Already missing Vo2 Cafe, which became my blog haven over the past few months. I’m supposta write these at home? Ugh, lame.

Yeah so let’s see how much I even remember. Here goes. Don’t Breathe. Billed as a horror. Felt more like a thriller, but a very unsettling one at that. Delinquent young adult break into an old blind dude’s home with the intention of robbing him. Turns out, he’s not as defenseless as you’d think. He blocks every exit in the place and seems to have his other senses heightened as he tracks them down in the house. I don’t know, but the concept of the dude not being able to see you but being able to hear _everything_ just creeps me out. They sold that much really well at least.

I was about to say things got pretty dark, until I realized that would be the most horrible unintentional pun, and it must not be uttered. But yeah, dude’s got some pretty messed up secrets inside his home. The suspense sorta ebbed and flowed and the conclusion dragged out, but when it was on, oh it was on. So not bad for a late summer low budget horror. Still not the horror revelation I’m waiting for, but we’re getting there.

Don’t Breathe – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n”

Southside With You

“I knew I was in trouble just before the credits rolled. The AMC announcements intro was one I’d never seen before despite my dozens and dozens of visits. It was the one with the romantic theme. Oh dear God, help me.

Why did I find myself at a romantic movie alone late at night against character and better judgement? The film in question was Southside With You, about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. I love our First Family, and I really was curious to see what happend on that first outting, especially since it was known to have included a screening of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts I passed out just before we got to the movie within the movie. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now about doubling after 7, once we cross my 10 PM bedtime during movie 2.

But there were a whole lot of things that happened before that point. Well maybe not a whole lot, but there were things. Mostly around Michelle insisting they were not on a date and Barack insisting that it wouldn’t be so bad if they were. It was cute and sweet and very much not my thing. Barack definitely had the charm and humor I love in our current president, but Michelle was portrayed as a bit too no-nonsense and serious, not the First Lady who did Carpool Karaoke.

I feel like this deserved a guest post from someone who is more inclined towards these films. I was sorta interested, but for me it wasn’t quite enough to fill a full movie, even one with a short runtime. However, I still need to see what happens when they watch that movie…

Southside With You – \m/ \m/ \n”

Mechanic: Resurrection

“What initially looked like it would be a dead weekend (perfect since I still got quite the pre-move to do list) ended up being packed with more last minute releases than I could deal with. Oh boy. I’ll spare you the way I logic-ed thru my movie schedule, but the last Boston double started with Jason Statham in Mechanic: Resurrection.

So I know I saw the original Mechanic. Hell, I’m pretty sure I even own it. I don’t remember anything about it other than Jason Statham and maybe Ben Foster? (IMDB confirms Ben Foster). I only briefly considered postponing this until I could rewatch that, but I didn’t get the sense that there was gonna be a lot of series continuity. Going in, I even though it’d be more a rip off Transporter than anything else, now that Statham’s relinquished that franchise to Ed Skrein, who I have mixed feelings about in the role.

Turns out it was a bit of a return, but it was a return to form for Statham in that we got back to the raw and gritty practical action that he’s so good at. I’ve loved his turn in the comedy world, and yes it’s great seeing him be a Fast and Furious baddie, but this is what he does best. And he showed off in ways he hadn’t in a while. Changing it up, there was a lot of water and boats and aquatic bad ass-ery, so points for something new.

Oh right, plot? Uh not really much of one. He’s a (trying to be) retired assassin for hire, that’s kind of an engineering genius when it comes to creative and unpredictable kills. Baddie from his past makes Statham cross paths with a girl (a criminally mis-used Jessica Alba) only to then kidnap her and hold her hostage until Statham can kill 3 targets. So yeah, just enough to give him reason to do fight-y things. And I’ve gotta say, the second is one of the most innovative film assassinations I have ever seen.

Decent and well put together action movie for all you action junkies. A must for Statham-ites like myself, but not really for the masses at large.

Mechanic: Resurrection – \m/ \m/ \m/”