George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is a cult classic horror flick that has cemented its place firmly in history. Part of the reason is that Romero & crew weren’t afraid to break the filmmaking “rules” of the era. The gore is still rather gruesome by today’s standards and so you can imagine what people in the 60s thought of the loose jaws, popped eyes, and the other nasty surprises sprinkled throughout the movie. The movie was also a progressive milestone as the main character is Ben (Duane Jones), a black man – a casting choice that unfortunately wasn’t done with any real frequency back then.
Last night’s premiere of Game of Thrones seventh season had a lot riding on it. Of course it needed to be an appropriately strong follow-up to season five classics like “The Winds of Winter” and “Battle of the Bastards”. But beyond that, it needed to be a great episode because “Dragonstone” marks the beginning of the end. Season seven and season eight have both been confirmed to be relatively short compared to prior seasons. It seems fair to view the upcoming twin seasons as the proverbial Act 3 of the saga that is Game of Thrones. Starting season seven off with a whimper, as has happened occasionally in prior seasons, would have been a great disservice to the entire story. Fortunately, that was not an issue last night as the cast & crew met or surpassed almost all expectations.
Before I go any further, I must warn you that this is not a spoiler-free review. I don’t think it is possible to have a worthwhile conversation about any television show that has gone on this long without spoiling, at a minimum, all prior episodes. However, I will also discuss some pivotal moments in “Dragonstone” and thus I would encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it yet to back out now. Continue reading “GoT Mondays: “Dragonstone” S7E01″
Chris Sparling’s Mercy is another Netflix original thriller that had interesting potential, but ultimately failed to hit the mark. It’s an interesting story with some auteur decisions backing it up. Namely, the decision to tell the same story from different points of view. That strong premise is let down by confusing dialog, bizarre action sequences, and dreadful pacing.
Brent Bonacorso’s You Get Me is a new Netflix original thriller. You Get Me is a vibrant film with good cinematography, interesting set pieces, and a bumping soundtrack. It’s a slow burner with a short runtime (89 minutes). Unfortunately, You Get Me over stays its welcome and doesn’t provide a satisfying payoff for its slow-paced first hour.
Jon Watts’s Spider-Man: Homecoming is a film I was unexpectedly nervous to go see. It’s my first review of a movie that a lot people haven’t even had the chance to see yet. It’s also my first review of a Marvel movie. It’s Jon Watts’s first go at directing in the blockbuster side of filmmaking. Tom Holland is similarly inexperienced in big budget acting roles (barring, of course, his appearance as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War (2016). The idea of my first truly big film review winding up being negative was a scary prospect, especially for a film with such a big fan base. I’m happy to report that this review will not need to be negative because Spider-Man: Homecoming is an excellent movie and a perfect addition to the long-running Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski’s The Void is a small town mystery-horror fusion starring a cult and hints of the otherworldly. Films pulling from the abyssal loom of Lovecraft are a rare treat and The Void is no exception. It is delightfully gory and it does a good job of keeping the mystery alive for its full 90 minute runtime. However, the sawtooth pacing dulls the excitement of the latter half of the movie while the middling acting & dialog keep anyone from feeling relatable despite the “small town” feel.
A Christmas Horror Story is a funny, occasionally frightening film that wears its tropes with pride and offers an interesting twist on the typical horror anthology experience.
A Christmas Horror Story was a collaborative directing effort between Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan. Horror anthologies are currently in fashion thanks to the success of V/H/S (2012), however most of the additions to subgenre have structured themselves identically to V/H/S: each story is told sequentially from beginning to end with a framework story serving as an interlude. A Christmas Horror Story abandons this tradition and instead gives each individual story a scene or two of screen time before rotating to the next one.
William Friedkin’s Bug (2006) is a low-budget investigation into the dangerous extremes of manipulation and gaslighting. Agnes (Ashley Judd) and Peter (Michael Shannon) orbit around each other as two individuals desperately in need of support, but not from each other. Together they drift deep into a world of paranoid delusions, government conspiracies, and reach a level of righteous insanity that would make Jim Jones proud.
Castlevania is a brand new Netflix mini-series adaptation of the classic video game series of the same name. The show is, indeed, mini clocking in at just over 90 minutes. It is a respectable attempt at doing what is typically as seen as impossible: adapting a video game into another medium and having it not be a horrible mess.
Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother is unsettling, disgusting, spiritual, and subtle. Certainly an unusual combination of ingredients for any film, but especially so for a horror movie.
The story takes us through the life of Francisca (Olivia Bond/Kika Magalhaes), a girl and then woman who is forever warped by childhood trauma. Both the child and adult actresses portray her with a subtle innocence, but that same innocence is repeatedly betrayed by her gruesome actions.