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Movie Time 2.0: TT mini reviews

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, particularly within the final act. Its tenseness never lets up but the final situation the lead character finds herself in, while very dire and scary, is quite ridiculous.

Scream, though I don't find the comedy part that strong (still a good movie, though). Drag Me to Hell. Creepshow (although maybe this is more stylish fun than "comedy"). An American Werewolf in London, though apart from scenes in the porno within the movie involving an overly long phonecall and a case of mistaken identity and some chipper suicide discussions, I don't remember a lot of the humour.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
The Adjuster

A 1991 Atom Egoyan film. Its a weird one and I think mostly its a good weird. Basically, its about an insurance adjuster who goes the distance in helping people who need his help by finding them a hotel to stay in. He's compassionate and wants to help them. But he's also using them. Its clear that his desire to help is genuine but he's basically sleeping with any woman he helps and while he's not coercing anybody into an affair, he is using his "nice guy" credentials and people's need for him to get into relationships and insert himself into people's lives. Meanwhile, his wife is a film censor who is addicted to the stuff she is censoring (though in the film, they admit its less "censorship" and more "classification" in most cases) is taping stuff to bring home for her sister to watch and both seem like they might be addicted to it. And throwing yet another element into the mix is a wealthy man who claims to be making a film and wants to use the Adjusters home... three model houses in the middle of a barren field. And his plans are much stranger than are expected.

I think I might need to watch it again some time to decide if it is a REALLY good film or an ambitious OK film. I think the former but I could see myself being less interested with it on a rewatch. Nonetheless, it definitely stayed with me. Its also weird to see a film starring 1990 Casey Jones one year after that movie playing a sort of Kyle Maclachlan character but a little less likable, despite wanting to be liked. The ending actually has a bit of a twist that puts what we think of our lead in perspective. I think this one speaks to me because I'm a guy who wants to be a good nice guy but sometimes I feel maybe I'm too self-absorbed to genuinely be one.

 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I kind of feel like the Super Mario Brothers Movie would have been more of a cult-hit than it is if it weren't a Super Mario Brothers movie; it's not what you'd call conventionally good, but it is just relentlessly weird, plainly had an enormous budget for its visuals, and had a lot of genuinely enjoyable plot points.

If you mentally snip out its connections to Nintendos Favorite Jumping Man, you could consider it to be like if Cronenberg made Blade Runner
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I watched Tombstone the other night. I don't know that it is good, but that is prime Kurt Russell, always appreciated Sam Elliot, and deep ass bench of "that guy" guys (Paxton, Biehn, Rooker, Zane, Powers Boothe, Stephen Lang, and Billy Bob Thornton) Also, Val Kilmer being on just another goddamn planet altogether.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I would say Chain Saw Massacre 2 is more of a candidate for big H big C than the original. Although it might even be little H. Most movies lean one way or the other by the end.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Most movies lean one way or the other by the end.
I feel there are quite a few big H C but yeah, its rare that by the end it either ends in comical relief or catharsis of dark humour or dropping the humour in the final act (re: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon). I feel Massacre 2 is more blatantly comedic (and gory) than the original but I feel the first is, while more horror than comedy, is very much intentionally ludicrous. My favourite scene is after Leatherface kills the third intruder in his home, he has a little panic attack as if to say "WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE KEEP COMING FROM?!!"
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Sadly, Rock & Rule does not hold up as as much of an Octo Good movie as my treacherous Memories would have lead me to believe. If you were going to watch just one Canadian animated movie from the early 80s that largely served as a musical showcase, well, its better than Heavy Metal, even if the musics worse.

The heroes are thwarted, like, two or three times because they get stoned.

The villain, an evil, devil-worshipping sorcerer who is a vaguely furry Mick Jagger trying to destroy the world by summoning a demon is a thousand times more likeable than all the actual protagonists put together.
 

Beowulf

Let the Mystery Be
(He/Him)
A Knight’s Tale, aka “Renn Faire: The Movie”. It’s a 90s teen sports movie, just about jousting knights in Anachronism Stew Europe. The hero is a moron, but that’s okay, because the love interest is clearly moronsexual. At 2+ hours, the movie is too long for what it is, and Jethrien complained of being bored and successfully predicted the entire last act with 45 minutes left to go. Also, I love getting Alan Tudyk a paycheck, but this was clearly before he hit his stride and they don’t give him quality material.

Venom - I can see why this movie spawned so much fanfic. The CGI is decent and the action scenes are fun, though cartoony in a similar way to the Transformers movies. (Though Riot really should have been a different color from Venom; it would have made the fight sequences with the two of them MUCH less confusing.) And it was bold of them to make Venom without Spider-Man. Really though, Tom Hardy holds the entire damn thing together: This movie wouldn’t have worked without him, because he’s one of the few actors who can sell a love story with an alien symbiote.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold - Dora has been living in the jungle with her parents and a monkey named Boots her whole life; at age 16 she joins Diego at a proper American high school and is, unsurprisingly, a giant weirdo. It works out, though, because she’s kidnapped by mercenaries who want to use her to steal her parents’ discovery of a lost Incan city (on the wrong side of the continent for Incans). This is hilarious and, while I’m not quite clear who the audience was, it works as long as you have a passing familiarity with the original show from when you or your child was a preschooler. I also found it amusing that, until the very end, the entire thing could have been “real” except for the presence of Swiper, because the mercenaries inexplicably have a talking, masked fox working for them. Jethrien’s theory is that Dora hallucinated everything after eating a ten-year-old candy bar. A Tumblr review called this “the best worst thing since Spy Kids”, and I can get behind that.

Evil Dead - The original, non-comedy low-budget baby Bruce Campbell extravaganza. Honestly, while I give them credit for making something that lasted out of a schlocky, trope-filled concept and no money…it’s not actually very good. The acting is wooden, the special effects are pretty awful, and somebody gets raped by a tree. This makes me wish there was a filmed version of the musical, though.

But I’m a Cheerleader - A bright and cheerful satire of gay conversion therapy camps, and it’s really, really queer in all the best ways. (I mean, “girl doesn’t realize she’s gay until she’s sent to ex-gay camp” is a pretty solid basis for satire, here.) This is a late-90s star-studded movie…in retrospect. Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall are the official stars (as is RuPaul) but Michelle Williams and Dante Basco are standouts in retrospect. I remember seeing this when it came out, and despite being a ridiculous mélange of stereotypes, it holds up remarkably well 20 years later.

Jennifer’s Body - This feels oddly 90s to me for a movie made in 2009; or at least the early-aughts era where indie punk rock was a thing and some people (but hardly everyone) had flip phones. I hadn’t realized Diablo Cody wrote this, but it fits very well with that I’ve seen of her style: The plot is a hacked-together mess of well-worn tropes, but it’s littered with solid dialogue and there’s probably a women’s studies thesis to be plumbed from the metatext. And while I’m not qualified to write that, I suspect it would note that the movie only needs a little light editing (basically, a ten-second scene of each murdered boy being a douchebag) to completely change the audience’s sympathies. The choice to make Needy the protagonist and Jennifer the antagonist defined the style of horror in the movie: The victims were “innocent”, so Jennifer was a monster. But at the end, no less a murderer, Needy is a hero.

The VelociPastor - Now that’s what I call schlock! It’s as terrible as you could hope for and clearly made on a $10 budget, and some of the dialogue has to be heard to be believed. That said, I’m not sure (and I don’t think the filmmakers were sure) exactly how bad they were expecting this to be, and I think that kinda hurts it. It definitely feels like something drunk college kids would make and think was brilliant enough to try to sell, but are they trying too hard or are they just right? I don’t know, that’s a decision for hooker-doctor-lawyers and the velocipastors who love them.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I've been catching up on some Netflix movies.

I am Thinking of Ending Things is a trippy Charlie Kaufman movie. Unreliable narrator(s), strange goings on. A woman and her boyfriend go to visit his parents. She is thinking of ending the relationship. Or her life. Or his life? Or their life?

The Devil All The Time is just flat out mean-spirited. I can't tell if it wanted to be a Coen Brothers-esque snapshot of human cruelty or a serious exploration of how people can do evil. It kind of ends up in the middle of nowhere, seeming both overtly pulpy but trying to act like realistic drama. There is something here about how people use God to justify a lot of horrible behavior or to deflect from their misdeeds. It is a hard watch.

Enola Holmes is a delight. I mean, its popcorn and not really trying to be much else, but it is fun popcorn.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Dolemite is My Name started feeling like a traditional biopic and I think technically stayed that way. Yet I loved it so much. See, you can see early on that even when the references are over your head, they are making winking references to the character's future or fun deep cut facts for fans, which can drive me nuts in such films. But soon I got lost in it and the film becomes pure joy as a loser comedian becomes a niche legend. Its similar to The Disaster Artist in many ways: both are about oddballs who make movies that are incredibly amateurish. But Rudy Ray Moore is likeable rather than pathetically tragic and he knows the kind of film he's making. He plays an outsized character and has big ambitions but he's also aware that he's in uncharted water and is incredibly grateful for each victory. Murphy is perfect in the role and its also a very gorgeous looking movie for a film about a very cheap little movie.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Well, it’s the end of September, so why not commence watching some dang ol HALLOWEENY MOVIES!

And so, I watched Leprechaun 2. Which certainly had its moments (Warwick Davis was plainly having the time of his life), wasn’t quite funny enough to work as a horror comedy. Still as a lot of fun though, and I’m lead to understand that the series just gets goofier from there.

It had possibly the only instance of someone dying because they were making out with an off board motor I've seen.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I'm so sorry if you continue to watch this series of films. I'm glad Warwick Davis got a paycheck and a leading role but just let it lie. That said, the Leprechaun in the Hood episode of How Did This Get Made with Kumail Nanjiani is well worth listening to.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
Watching Uncle Buck for the first time. Love how John Candy heroically kidnaps and threatens to torture a teenager.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
Pitch Perfect 3 remarkably good performance for such a weird film. It doesn’t go where you think it will. Funny too. The rare good third sequel.
 

karzac

(he/him)
That's the first thing I've heard that makes me want to watch it. I was extremely disappointed by Pitch Perfect 2.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Beauty and the Beast. The 1992 one. Its fine but after watching Aladdin fairly recently, its a step down in a lot of ways. Be Our Guest is still top notch stuff, though.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
I saw Willow for the first time the other night. It was extremely 80s, and very cheesy, and the music was repetitive and awful, but it was still a fun, generally light-hearted adventure that had an interesting thing or two going on.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
American Murder: The Family Next Door is interesting and depressing. The murder victim posted enough of her life online that they managed to craft a feature length documentary out of just her online postings and media surrounding the investigation and murder. It is also a truly despicable crime. Maybe the most depressing part is near the end, when people on the internet decide
that the murdered pregnant woman must have pushed her husband to kill her and their two kids by being a bitch.
 

Pajaro Pete

(He/Himbo)
The Addams Family (2019): it's definitely a children's animated movie. not that i'm suggesting the 90s movies were Serious Grown Up Movies For Mature And Sophisticated Adults, but thematically it felt like a very standard kid's movie. everything outside of the addams family estate looked really cheap, and i get that that's sort of the point, but sometimes it felt like a circa 2011 cgi television cartoon?
 

jpfriction

You'll never take my hat away
The Addams Family (2019): it's definitely a children's animated movie. not that i'm suggesting the 90s movies were Serious Grown Up Movies For Mature And Sophisticated Adults, but thematically it felt like a very standard kid's movie. everything outside of the addams family estate looked really cheap, and i get that that's sort of the point, but sometimes it felt like a circa 2011 cgi television cartoon?
I didn't hate it. They could have excised the whole plot with the mom spying on every one and it would've been a fine episode of a tv show that doesn't exist. Wednesday makes a friend and acts out, what does that look like for this weird family.

Doesn't hold a candle to the 90's movies but very little does.
 
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