Recent Movies

Yesterday I started writing a new screen saver for the first time since lockdown began, and it went pretty badly and made me feel like I'm terrible at everything, so I returned to my core competency of getting drunk and watching horror movies while farting into my couch:

Darlin' (2019): A decent and surprisingly bloody raised-by-wolves story (not to be confused in any way with Raised By Wolves). The priest was such a Snidely Whiplash, though, he nearly ruined it.

The Woman (2011): I didn't realize that Darlin' was a sequel to this, but I'm kind of glad I watched them in the wrong order! This is fantastic, and it makes living in the woods away from people seem like a really solid plan.

Raised By Wolves: This hits all of Ridley Scott's weird late-career kinks, mixing Prometheus with Kingdom of Heaven and going nowhere. Milk blood, chestbursters, panspermia, plus, precocious children, and a plot centering around "your life has no meaning unless you breed." Also the androids talk in a "beep boop" cadence that you would expect from Star Trek and wouldn't accept from Alexa. Also it has that idiotic thing where the planet is riddled with Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnels that go all the way through the core, just like on Planet Jar-Jar. Peter Watts savaged it, too. He hated it almost as much as he hated Humans, which is saying a lot.

Antebellum: Great and scary. The fake-out was a good fake-out. Janelle Monáe is a treasure.

Lights Out: Solid haunting story about some kind of monster that can only materialize in the dark. Good creepy effects, feels a tiny bit like the first Nightmare on Elm Street.

Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1974): This movie is nuts, even by the standards of Hammer Horror. There's really a surprising amount of batshit worldbuilding and nonstandard vampirism. It's kind of the 70s version of The Witcher.

Enola Holmes: This was pretty cute.

Grimm: "What if Supernatural, but furries, and cops?" I'm through season 2 so far. It's more "Supernatural" than cop show, but it's really tough to watch this TV fantasy of moral, law-abiding, non-racist cops, who just happen to have to do some extrajudicial killings every now and then, you know, for the kids; while knowing that the real-life version of Portland cops are 100% literal Nazis. (I don't mean to single out Portland. Obviously it's a fair assumption that any given cop is a Nazi. It's just that Portland has really "leaned in" to that recently.)

Level 16: I feel like I've seen another movie with this exact plot, and also taking place on the set of the Ladytron "Seventeen" video. It was ok.

XX: A 4-story horror anthology by women. It's pretty good.

Books of Blood and Tales from the Hood 3: These are not good.

Rabid (2019): Normally I avoid remakes, but this was by the directors of American Mary, and it's great. Excellent body horror and good use of hallucinations to keep you guessing what was real, and it didn't go in the direction I thought it would. If The Neon Demon was a better movie, it might have been this. It's also far superior to Cronenberg's 1977 Rabies, which is really pretty crappy (and I say this as a Cronenberg fan).

See No Evil 2: I never saw the first one, but I watched this because it was also by the Soskas. It's a forgettable by-the-numbers Friday the 13th clone where an indestructible demon chops up some screaming people, and nothing valued is lost. Yawn.

Spontaneous: This is excellent. Students at a high school just start exploding at random. There's an interminable quarantine. Nobody knows if they will even have a future. This has nothing to do with current events, whatever could you mean?

Primal: This is brief but very good. A cartoon about a caveman/dinosaur team-up. No dialog at all and really solid storytelling. The episode with the giant bats is almost Fury Road.

The Pale Door: Kind of an old west Dusk Til Dawn situation. Not bad.

Utopia (2020): Again, I avoid remakes, but John Cusack? Well, this remake of a British series about a vast conspiracy around a global pandemic and a graphic novel was completely unnecessary. The original had an amazing look to it, with very weird use of color. Though the original started of great and then kind of fizzled out. So I guess what this remake brings to the table is... bland cinematography and American accents?

Ready Or Not: A family of rich twits try to invite a new bride into their family by murdering her. All the class war of Knives Out plus a lot more gore. It's pretty fantastic. I will now watch anything Samara Weaving is in.

The Woman in Black: I guess this is some kind of Victorian haunted house story, but it thinks "soundtrack jump-scares" are what passes for "suspense" so I gave up halfway through before literally anything of note had happened. (Update: I see that I had already reviewed the first 20 awful minutes of this movie in 2015! Oops!)

The Wolf of Snow Hollow: A very witty and funny small-town-werewolf movie.

The Boys: Season 2 was very good. Good use of crypto-nazis.

The Doorman: It's Die Hard starring Batwoman. Eh, it passes the time.

Straight To Hell (1987): Every time I watch this I am again struck by.... how did this happen? How does this exist?


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17 Responses:

  1. Dude says:

    God, Ridley Scott just doesn't even try anymore, does he? I mean, The Martian was... okay, and All the Money in the World would have been "meh" without or without rapist Kevin Spacey.

    Tales from the Hood... 3?!! I still dig the first one (which time has been good to in terms its social commentary), but I could only make it through the poorly-shot and -edited intro to the second one before I turned it off. I can only imagine the sort of shit-show the third one must be. Kinda like the straight-to-video sequels to Starship Troopers.

    Rabid was actually the first flick I saw on-demand during lockdown. I wasn't fully sold on the ending, but I dig the Soskas' work and miss their game show Hellevator (imagine Nickelodeon's Double Dare, but the obstacle course is the set of a Tobe Hooper flick).

    Ready or Not. Few things made me laugh harder last year than that "explosive" ending.

    Glad to hear Antebellum is good.

    • Nick Lamb says:

      Unusually (except for all the times people made movies of Phil Dick shorts, where I often wouldn't know except they tell me in the credits, and the movies of Alan Moore comics where I'd know instantly even though Alan isn't mentioned in the credits) I've actually read The Martian before seeing the movie and I thought the movie was more or less exactly what I'd want from a movie of that book.

      Anthology is an especially good choice for horror. I wish we had the world where more of the series that become just the same things done over and over with smaller budgets were instead anthology series that get to tell different stories. Halloween is the canonical example. No reason Friday 13th and several others couldn't have done this also. Cloverfield is the closest I think we got, and it's uneven but at least it's variety.

  2. Andreas says:

    jesus christ, they already remade UTOPIA? The original ended what, 2 years ago? (And that ending was not good at all, ugh)

  3. Doctor Memory says:

    We did not, in the end, deserve Alex Cox.

  4. Jim says:

    I recommend Trump vs. the Illuminati. It's about Trump's immortal Chinese clone going to Dubai to fight Lucifer.

  5. k3ninho says:

    Ratched (Netflix): Watched an introductory 2 episodes, doesn't make clear if you're supposed to root for the younger person who becomes One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest's Nurse Ratched or if you're to hate-watch her sociopathic antics. The score is like overblown high-contrast photography, cueing foreboding in a whole lot of not much going on. We'll likely skip the rest of it.


  6. Steve Allen says:

    Grimm, yes, a police procedural with furries. The lingering memory incited by the cops not behaving like 80 years ago in Germany is all the German words for the furries which the scriptwriters inserted into the mythos but nobody bothered to coach the actors on how to pronounce them.

  7. Kyzer says:

    Having watched all of Grimm and generally enjoyed it, I would recommend it as light entertainment.

    I could never work out how they reconciled the fact that MotW would inevitably die trying to kill Nick. Sure, MotW was raping/killing/planning world domination, and there's usually plenty of evidence to confirm their guilt, but how do you explain to IA that your suspects keep dying pre-arrest every fucking week? At least Batman leaves them strung up outside GCPD.

    Bree Turner is up there with Lola Bunny for how many people they've turned furry.

    You should drink every time they open the weapons cabinet, or Captain Renard finds an excuse to take his shirt off.

  8. Michael V. says:

    Straight To Hell (1987): Every time I watch this I am again struck by.... how did this happen? How does this exist?

    It's a fun story! The whole reason it exists was that Alex Cox had organized a series of benefit shows in Nicaragua with Joe Strummer, Elvis Costello, and the Pogues. The Nicaraguan government shut the whole idea down near the last minute, but everyone had already cleared the time on their calendar, and Alex had his Sid and Nancy money burning a hole in his pocket.

    So, he came up with the brilliant idea of taking everyone to Spain to make a spaghetti western instead.

    I absolutely adore this movie. I haven't actually watched it in years, because I can more or less recite it from memory.

    • jwz says:

      I had heard that story, but honestly, it doesn't really answer the question.

      • Ian says:

        I saw it when it came out, having seen Repo Man at the London or Edinburgh film festival.

        The trailer was fabulous.

        The film really isn't.

      • Gabelvampir says:

        Never heard of Straight to Hell, but it looks right up my alley. Which version is better to watch first, the original or the Straight to Hell Returns re-cut/remaster? Image quality is not really a factor for me.

  9. Ben says:

    Have you seen BBC America's Dirk Gently? I was surprised how well it tries to match the style of the source material, which is always hard with Douglas Adams. It is much much murderier though, which is why I mention it here. In one episode it's implied that a woman kills ten thousand goons with a chainsaw.