Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Just Another Post-Modern, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian Cannibal Romance in The Desert, or Thoughts The Bad Batch

Writer and director Ana Lily Amirpour of A Girl Walks Home Alone, at Night  (2014) does her best to make her own vision of a post-apocalypse Mad Max-style action horror movie filtered through a David Lynch lens in The Bad Batch (2016).  Suki Waterhouse from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) is Arlen, or Bad Batch 5040, (which is tattooed behind her ear), who is quickly processed by anonymous guards and dropped off at the Texas border on the wrong side of the wall.  She’s left in the desert with a gallon of water and a pair of watermelon short shorts. and subsequently captured by a tribe of cannibal bodybuilders living in an airplane graveyard who saw off an arm and a leg before she manages to escape.  Normally this would be the whole movie but dude, all of this happens in the first ten minutes.
The bad batchers are all the rejects from modern society, and at times the movie seems heavy handed and preachy about that.  It’s a slow, meandering, and almost silent movie with the bare minimum of dialogue, the narrative, such as it is, is advanced with great visuals and a cool music festival soundtrack.  Jason Momoa is Miami Man, a nice cannibal bodybuilder (all movies require a certain suspension of disbelief, and it’s a tribute to Jason Momoa’s on screen charisma that audiences are willing to accept him in this role) that Arlen meets in her adventures (I told you it was a romance), and the ensuing love story would be at home in any Jim Jarmush film (and if you don’t get that references, I don’t know if we can hang out anymore).
With Giovanni Ribisi as a madman in the desert, Jim Carrey as another madman in the desert, and Keanu Reeves as a cult leader in the desert.  What with the success of Imperator Furiosa I would suspect that we’re going to see more amputee action movies, partly as a reaction to our current political climate and the veterans who return home.  And let’s not forget Rose McGowan from Planet Terror (2007).  I will concede the excellent use of CGI for Arlen’s stump, but on the whole the Bad Batch comes across as a disappointing Burning Man experience.








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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Heathers Named Colleen Fight Some Canadian Nazis, or Thoughts Yoga Hosers

Is there such a thing as too much Canada?  From director Kevin Smith, the Canadian Robert Rodriguez, Yoga Hosers (2016) is an affectionate if confusing horror comedy starring the director’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith as Colleen McKenzie and Johnny Depp’s daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, (who inherited her father’s cheekbones) as BFF Colleen Collette.  High school sophomores, aspiring musicians and clerks (this is a Kevin Smith movie after all) at the Eh 2 Zed Convenience Store, their chemistry and on-screen enthusiasm is easily the best part of the movie, and before the night is over the director will have them singing their little hearts out, fighting Canadian Satanists and the Bratzis; Canadian Nazi/bratwurst clones straight out of Puppet Master (1989).
Equal parts South Park, Ghost World (2001) and Ginger Snaps (2000), which I suppose one could argue is the gold standard for teen girl Canadian horror, the movie was a box office disappointment, owing to the meandering plot and inconsistent humor.  I mean, it''s kinda funny, I appreciate the effort. But if you love Canada, and really, who doesn’t, the movie is layered with so many jokes and references that only our friendly neighbors to the north could truly and fully appreciate.  Stay for the Colleens' Oh Canada rock cover during the end credits (also en francais)!
There are so many cameos, including an unrecognizable Johnny Depp, doing his best Peter Sellers/Inspector Clouseau in disguise impression as Guy LaPointe, Tony Hale, Natasha Lyonne, Vanessa Paradis, Stan Lee, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith and Haley Joel Osment as Adrien Arcand, the Canadian Fuhrer.  It’s a literal hot mess, and I like it far more than I should, considering the movie currently has a rating of 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, but when did I ever listen to the critics?








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Monday, September 18, 2017

Rick Deckard Cheats on Michelle Pfeiffer With a Ghost, or Thoughts What Lies Beneath

A New England mash-up of Rear Window (1954, a favorite Hitchcock movie of mine), Vertigo (1958, my #1 favorite Hitchcock movie, in case you care, and I know you do), Gaslight (1944) and Les Diabloliques (1955), What Lies Beneath (2000) features Harrison Ford as brilliant scientist Dr. Norman Spencer and Michelle Pfeiffer as his equally brilliant wife Claire.  The scares come quick as Claire dreams of drowning in the bath and sees the neighbors arguing and later that night, loading a body-shaped package in the trunk of their car.  But all ghost stories are murder mysteries at their heart, and Claire also starts investigating the disappearance of one of Norman’s students, Madison, as portrayed by 90’s supermodel Amber Valetta in one of her first big screen roles.  Which I guess explains how a fella could pass on Michelle Pfeiffer.
I’ve often thought of director Robert Zemeckis as a more mainstream, conservative Tim Burton.  He explores the same myths and fantasies in his movies, but he’s reined in and his movies appeal to a more mature audience.  The supernatural elements remain vague and unconfirmed, just like they should be.   They’re there if you want them to be, but with or without the ghosts, What Lies Beneath is a modern gothic romance with some nice twists.  Whatever happened to Michelle Pfeiffer, who is absolutely radiant in this movie?  All you fanboys and fangirls of Jennifer Lawrence take heed; this is your future.  And watch out for Miranda Otto, Eowyn, Shield Maiden of Rohan, as Mary Feur, the neighbor with the healthy set of lungs.








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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Childhood Nightmares Not of Clowns but Wolves, or Thoughts Silver Bullet

Stephen King at his best is evocative of Ray Bradbury, and a great example is Silver Bullet (1985), a quiet coming of age story in a small town in Maine that just happens to have a series of werewolf murders.  From the Author’s 1985 novella Cycle of the Werewolf, 80’s powerhouse Corey Haim is Marty, the young paraplegic and owner of the Silver Bullet, his motorized custom wheelchair.  The film is told in retrospect with a narration from Marty’s older sister Jane, and coupled with the portrait of the typical Stephen King New England Small Town it becomes a twisted version of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), but with slasher werewolf murders.
And these are great looking werewolves, reminiscent of An American Werewolf in London (1981) with a combination of guys in suits and animatronics.  The town tears apart from the strain of the horror, a theme Stephen King would revisit again and again in movies like The Mist (2007) and Needful Things (1993).
Director Dan Attias would go on to work for HBO and direct episodes from Six Feet Under and True Blood in addition to Buffy The Vampire Slayer and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  Watch out for Gary Busey, less crazy in the 80’s but ad-libbing his lines (according to IMDb) as Marty’s Uncle Red, the designer of the Silver Bullet, and Everett McGill, Big Ed from Twin Peaks as Reverend Lowe.  However don't watch out for a Stephen King cameo because, alas, there isn’t one.









you can follow me on twitter @newsuperantonio
you can read my books for free on amazon kindle,  or buy the paperbacks, available at fine bookstores everywhere (or on amazon). 

Friday, September 15, 2017

One Egyptian Horror Movie, Hold The Mummies, or Thoughts on The Pyramid

Denis O’Hare, when he was not obsessing over Jessica Lange’s various and memorable characters in the first two seasons of  American Horror Story, found time to star in The Pyramid (2014) as Dr. Miles Holden, who along with his archeologist daughter Nora, as portrayed by Ashley Hinshaw explore, yeah you guessed it, a newly discovered pyramid hidden deep in the Sahara desert.  They’re accompanied by a documentary team, convenient for explaining things to the camera and more people to panic, POV head cams lend a first-person, found footage aspect to the movie, though the circumstances are unfolding in real time.  Of course they get lost, trip a variety of Indiana Jones-y death traps and encounter mutant cannibal cats and the god Anubis, who may be another mutant that the ancient Egyptians worshiped as the god of death, the movie isn’t very specific, but to be fair, they were busy running away from him.
From director GrĂ©gory Levasseur, screenwriter for P2 (2007) and Haute Tension (2002), the movie has an unmerited rating of 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, not taking into account the challenge of making an Egyptian horror movie without any mummies.  Maybe the critics demand mummies in their Egyptian horror movies and if that’s true, that seems kinda racist.










you can follow me on twitter @newsuperantonio
you can read my books for free on amazon kindle,  or buy the paperbacks, available at fine bookstores everywhere (or on amazon).