Island Zero, 2018 – ★★

My review of Island Zero, 2018 – ★★ http://bit.ly/2X94pTX

Sometimes a low budget boosts the scares in a horror movie. The director is forced to work with what she/he has. In this case the acting and dialog is pretty awful. The humble use of blood and gore is accentuated as fake as a result. If the characters spent more time together embracing the material, it might have fared better. As it is, the lines seem forced and there isn’t much to grab on to here.

Having said that, this is a horror film we have been given in 2018. Since it was a scant year for our genre, this one is worth watching. There are a few moments that thrill and chill so you won’t be completely let down.

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Nurse Jackie

Title: Nurse Jackie
Genre: TV Sitcom, Hospital, Drama, Dark Comedy, 30 minute episodes
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Year: 2009-2015 7 Seasons
Produced by: Showtime.
Top Billed Cast: Edie Falco, known for “The Sopranos,” and array of big star regulars/guest stars.
Brief Synopsis: A nurse who juggles her family and pain-killers. Not a good combo but makes for a laugh here and there. Not realistic on all levels, hallucinogenic, trippy, strange when its not.
My Word to the Wise: It’s anyone’s guess how we “should” portray functional drug addicts working in an ER unit. I have no judgment for that reason. But I kept asking myself this question: should it be so funny in between the darkness?

The rest of this review may contain spoilers.

I just finished binge watching all the “Nurse Jackie” episodes. She reminds me of a trainer I had at Pizza Hut years ago who was bitter my education brought me in to the company above her. She was addicted to cigarettes and happy hour. Some addicts feel they work so hard we shouldn’t ever question them, What a crock of shit. Nurse Jackie embodies this type of what I call “Tweaker” thinking.

This is a good show in many ways because it dares to look at functional addiction with no sugar coating in the end.

I didn’t like every aspect of it though, which is likely in a show that runs this long, there have to be some experiments made to see what the audience bites on. If a character gets under your skin it’s for one of two reasons: 1) They remind you of a true life character or 2) it’s a terrible script with back and forth implausibility. I’d say both are true at different points.

If you like ER shows and/or you liked “Breaking Bad” you’ll enjoy the hybrid. There’s a bit more dark humor in “Nurse Jackie.” A spoonful of humor helps the medicine go down I suppose. But is this medicine? How else can a show present such dark subject matter?

The Hunt, 2012 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)

My review of The Hunt, 2012 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers) http://bit.ly/2TPWGs9

This review may contain spoilers.

The Salem Witch trials show us how the mob mentality can mindlessly harm a victim. The Hunt shows us what the mob mentality does to a good man when accused of sexual abuse. Even after the very child admits it didn’t happen, the stigma and prejudice remains. Are there some wrongs to reputation that can’t be righted?

The mind of a child is a wonderful thing but who can know it or analyze it. Some of us told fibs when we were kids and sometimes they had consequences. Sometimes kids say things for attention that amplify elements of the truth to make a new lie. This is usually innocuous as part of the process of growing up. Sometimes however, the innocent lies of a child can kill.

In The Hunt, Lucas played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a kindergarten teacher. This is somewhat out of the ordinary, in this country anyway, because usually men aren’t teaching this age. He appears to be likeable and the kids feel comfortable around him. One day, however, that changes. Klara, played by Annika Wedderkopp, kisses Lucas on the lips.

He scolds her and says that is only for mommy and daddy. For all intents and purposes, he does everything right but that can’t stop the tsunami of trouble that comes his way. Klara shares that Lucas did lewd things to her, revealing his genitals. The movie consists of Lucas being accused and never being forgiven by the town. It’s all presented in heartbreaking realism. At one point, Lucas cannot even buy food at the local grocery store because the manager has banned him. This is after Lucas has been exonerated by the police investigation.

Lucas is having a lot of trouble in this film. Before the sexual accusations occur he is an a match with his ex-wife to get partial custody of his son who is an older teen. Lucas’ son is the most reasonable person in the whole town. He screams at the people who are trying his dad in the streets without having all the facts. He even spts in the face of Klara in the presence of her parents. The bottom line is that he loves his dad and believes in him in spite of the virtual sentencing the town has forced upon him. hunt_There is some forgiveness but throughout the film and in the last scene especially, on a hunt, we are led to believe that Lucas will never be safe as long as rumors remain. This film lost a star with me because it didn’t develop the relationships at work and with friends enough. It seemed illogical they would respond this way.

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The Hunt, 2012 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)

My review of The Hunt, 2012 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers) http://bit.ly/2TPWGs9

This review may contain spoilers.

The Salem Witch trials show us how the mob mentality can mindlessly harm a victim. The Hunt shows us what the mob mentality does to a good man when accused of sexual abuse. Even after the very child admits it didn’t happen, the stigma and prejudice remains. Are there some wrongs to reputation that can’t be righted?

The mind of a child is a wonderful thing but who can know it or analyze it. Some of us told fibs when we were kids and sometimes they had consequences. Sometimes kids say things for attention that amplify elements of the truth to make a new lie. This is usually innocuous as part of the process of growing up. Sometimes however, the innocent lies of a child can kill.

In The Hunt, Lucas played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a kindergarten teacher. This is somewhat out of the ordinary, in this country anyway, because usually men aren’t teaching this age. He appears to be likeable and the kids feel comfortable around him. One day, however, that changes. Klara, played by Annika Wedderkopp, kisses Lucas on the lips.

He scolds her and says that is only for mommy and daddy. For all intents and purposes, he does everything right but that can’t stop the tsunami of trouble that comes his way. Klara shares that Lucas did lewd things to her, revealing his genitals. The movie consists of Lucas being accused and never being forgiven by the town. It’s all presented in heartbreaking realism. At one point, Lucas cannot even buy food at the local grocery store because the manager has banned him. This is after Lucas has been exonerated by the police investigation.

Lucas is having a lot of trouble in this film. Before the sexual accusations occur he is an a match with his ex-wife to get partial custody of his son who is an older teen. Lucas’ son is the most reasonable person in the whole town. He screams at the people who are trying his dad in the streets without having all the facts. He even spts in the face of Klara in the presence of her parents. The bottom line is that he loves his dad and believes in him in spite of the virtual sentencing the town has forced upon him. hunt_There is some forgiveness but throughout the film and in the last scene especially, on a hunt, we are led to believe that Lucas will never be safe as long as rumors remain. This film lost a star with me because it didn’t develop the relationships at work and with friends enough. It seemed illogical they would respond this way.

Follow me on Letterboxd http://bit.ly/2BDfNyj

Midnight Cowboy, 1969 – ★★½ (contains spoilers)

My review of Midnight Cowboy, 1969 – ★★½ (contains spoilers) http://bit.ly/2BoJ93x

This review may contain spoilers.

I almost feel like if I don’t give this film 5 stars, bad movie karma will visit me. It is mentioned in so many reviews I read as well as in interviews with directors and actors. It was released with an “X” rating which is laughable by our standards today. I think you see one female breast in about three short, clothed sex scenes. It later received an R rating.

This film is old, it came out the same year I was born.

Oldies are often goodies though and “Midnight Cowboy,” while gritty, is a drama treat with award winning actors that make the story come alive.

I love movies that show us the naked city. From the playbills stapled and frayed on side streets to the honking of taxicabs. People are trying to survive and we get to travel with the camera, taking it all in. Of course, we can pause at any time or come back to revisit another time. People in the real city can’t. Maybe that’s why we like watching what they will do, often out of desperation.

Just seeing John Voight and Dustin Hoffman in their prime is very entertaining.

These guys were showing us acting like university drama instructors here in their mid twenties. John Voight has always struck me as one dimensional and stupid. That actually works for his character here. Hoffman is a con man, a sick one at that. We get a slice of 1969 in this very well made and incredibly acted film. I recommend it but it’s not “all that”

Brief Synopsis: Man moves to the big city and makes an unlikely friend.

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Podcast: Pete’s Dragon (Audio Plot Summary)

This is my reading of the plot summary of the 77 classic: Pete’s Dragon. (text from from Wikipedia) Includes the original trailer audio and Helen Reddy’s “Candle on the Water.” (Originally posted on The Damien Riley Podcast)

Podcast: The Blackcoat’s Daughter

This is a mercurial one to be sure! Still, highly creepy. Enjoy my audio walkthrough of this film. (First posted on the Damien Riley Podcast)

Film Summary of the horror/mystery film “The Blackcoat’s Daughter.”

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015) February (original title) R | 1h 33min | Horror, Thriller | 16 February 2017 (USA) The Blackcoat’s Daughter Poster Trailer 2:17 | Trailer3 VIDEOS | 33 IMAGES Watch Now With Prime Video ALL Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break. Director: Oz Perkins (as Osgood Perkins) Writer: Oz Perkins (as Osgood Perkins) Stars: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton

Podcast: Previews of Cam / Jacob’s Ladder / High Tension

Here are some audio reviews I did on these excellent films. (This podcast was posted first on the Damien Riley Podcast)

In this episode I give an introduction to three movies I highly recommend. Only minor spoilers here.

Cam (2018) TV-MA | 1h 34min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 16 November 2018 (USA) Cam Poster Alice, an ambitious camgirl, wakes up one day to discover she’s been replaced on her show with an exact replica of herself. Director: Daniel Goldhaber Writers: Isa Mazzei, Daniel Goldhaber (story by) | 2 more credits » Stars: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters

Podcast: Amores Perros

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s debut film is amazing. I finally got around to watching it and did a show on it here for fellow fans. (This podcast was first posted on The Damien Riley Podcast)

Amores Perros (2000)
Amores perros (original title)
R | 2h 34min | Drama, Thriller | 13 April 2001 (USA)
Amores Perros Poster
A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life’s harsh realities, all in the name of love.
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (as Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Writer: Guillermo Arriaga (as Guillermo Arriaga Jordán)
Stars: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo

The Director of “Babel” and The “Revenant” started with this film that has been compared to Pulp Fiction. I just watched it, totally amazing.

Podcast: The House That Jack Built 7/10

Podcast: The House That Jack Built – Note: This is my full walk-through & film summary of this graphic horror movie. Not for everyone. (Originally appeared at: The DRP – The House That Jack Built.)

My very rough notes: The director and buildup 2 levels: the incidents of a serial killer / the walk to hell, escorted by the verge It’s weird because we are in jack’s head but not supposed to relate with him, and yet we may. Ocd etc are relatable things Mr. Verge (Demon) and Jack 1st incident – Uma Thurman’s character is a bit demanding/annoying. She insults him by saying he looks like a serial killer. She gives him tips in jest on how to transport and bury bodies. She’s demanding about having him drive her back. She pushes and pushes, apparently as a joke, about how he is a serial killer. He is being very cruel with her, sarcastic. She STILL gets in a car with him. Then she says she takes it all back, saying he’s way too much of a wimp to be a serial killer. He kills her. As an engineer, Jack sees the act of killing as an engineered art. We see the pencils straight as a sign of his OCD. The walk-in freezer. He bought a retired restaurant freezer. Pizzas included. Put her body in there with the others. 2nd Incident – Door to door killing. Trying to get in. The wolf. The Kirby salesman. She agrees to let him in after much consternation. Once in, he says ridiculous things, almost playing with the situation, proving his ability to kill. Gets her to put a pillow under her head. Pretends to cry apologizing, gives her tea w poison. She still doesn’t die. Gets knife out, counts up the ribs, pierces her heart. Takes a photo of her with a little antique camera. Drags the body out – so much work to this art. Cleans up with bleach it looks like. He is haunted by the idea he left blood at the scene so he goes back to clean again. The OCD coming out. Even with an alarm on full blast, he recalls one place there might be blood and goes back yet again! Sees a police car, pulls the dead body out of the van. Cops come up to his van. Gives the cop another smooth story. This guy is good. Starts demanding the room be inspected. He is so sure of himself. Ties the body to the van. The drive causes her face to be ground down. Grisly sight. “I went to great lengths to fake normal empathy in order to confound the masses. The scythes are beautiful, peaceful. Cutting off the duckling’s foot is grisly, sad, repulsive. The strangling scenes are awful but in truth, probably as bad as this film gets for gore. This film raises the question: what is hell to jack? Preferred the dark negative light “demonic.” Jack had no family. 3rd incident The family shooting. 4th incident “I had a romance” He says he had stronger feelings for Riley Keough’s character than a psychopath is supposed to have. Jack meets Jacqueline (Riley Keough), a woman that he calls “Simple,” as he believes her to be stupid. Jack confesses he has killed sixty people at this point and is the serial killer “Mr. Sophistication,” but Jacqueline does not believe him and thinks he’s lying. She tries to get away and tell a cop, but he dismisses her as a drunk. Eventually, Jacqueline fails to escape and Jack cuts off her breasts with a knife and murders her. He pins one of the breasts to the Cop’s car and fashions the other one into a wallet. 5th Incident[edit] Jack has detained six people and tied them to a makeshift post, lining their heads up in a row with the intention of killing them all with one bullet, but he realizes that the bullet he bought from Al (Jeremy Davies) is not a full metal jacket bullet. Al refuses to sell the bullets and instead Jack has to go to the trailer of a man known as S.P. (David Bailie). Knowing that the cops are looking for Jack, S.P. points a gun at Jack and thinks that he has caught him. Jack convinces him to drop his gun and kills him with a knife through his throat and then grabs the one bullet he needs. He then puts on S.P.’s red bathrobe and waits for the police to arrive as his van is now stuck in a ditch and he requires transportation. He kills the cop and steals his car, which he leaves outside his freezer space with the siren blazing. He tries to line up the shot but realizes it’s too blurry. He finally succeeds in prying open a door at the back of the freezer that’s always been stuck shut. He continues to try to line up the shot and sees Verge for the first time. Verge suggests that Jack has unfinished business and has never really built the house that he was intending to build. Using the bodies as material, Jack constructs a house out of them and when he enters the make-shift house, he sees a hole that leads down. At this point, the cops successfully torch through the door, and Jack decides to go through the hole, following Verge. Epilogue: Katabasis[edit] In a clear allusion to Dante’s Inferno, Verge is actually the poet Virgil and is guiding Jack through Hell. At the very bottom of Hell there is a bridge and a vast dark space below. The door on the other side of the bridge leads out of Hell and presumably to Heaven as Verge tells Jack. The bridge is completely broken, but Jack notices that one could climb around the cliff and over to the other side, although Verge tells him that he recommends against it and that this is not where he is to deliver him. Jack ignores him and decides to try to climb over anyway. Jack fails and falls off the cliff down into the abyss with the flowing fire below.