Widows

I went to see this film against my initial reactions to it. Metacritic and podcasters that up to now I truly respected were gushing over it with tweets like “SEE THIS FILM.” I won’t get fooled again. It was awful. Steve McQueen needs to take a step back after this one.

I understand that heist movies often contain a nuts and bolts planning section of the film. That’s why I tolerated the first 1/2 of this slow, uneventful film. I expected it to pick up the pace immensely, it didn’t. That isn’t my main gripe with this film.

Widows (2018)
R | 2h 9min | Crime , Drama , Romance | 16 November 2018 (USA)
Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Director: Steve McQueen
Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay by), Steve McQueen (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki

There are side stories everywhere in this movie. It seems that they are there as some sort of puzzle to be assembled later. In my opinion, they are discordant and do not serve the plot at all. This film tries to be like recent films where women are empowered against men who cheat and use them. It’s also tapping into racial inequality even though it is not an all black cast.

I just waited and waited for the heist and when it appeared it was muddled and sloppy. There were some cool camera angles and tricks but that is way less than this film was touted as. I think some podcasters I read on my Twitter have been floated gifts by the film studio. There is no explanation for these glowing reviews. I’ve never checked the time so much in a film. I wanted OUT quickly. This is not a good film. 2/10

A Separation (Podcast)

You know, we all should be thankful for the #Metoo movement because it has brought to the light rape and mistreatment of women all over the planet. I believe it has already brought about change through awareness. But what we don’t know and don’t think about it that men are often falsely accused and even imprisoned in some countries for alleged crimes against women that may have never occurred.

Watching this movie “A Separation” I saw a country that was so backward in the way it deals with justice but I also saw just how difficult it might be for a man in his 30’s to exist in these countries. This film takes place in Iran.

A Separation (2011)
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (original title)
PG-13 | 2h 3min | Crime , Drama , Family | 16 March 2011 (Iran)
A Separation Poster
Trailer 2:04 | Trailer2 VIDEOS | 49 IMAGES
Watch Now
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video
ON DISC
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Payman Maadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat

 

Overlord (Podcast)

Just like “Inglorious Bastards” gave free reign to kill and maim Nazis, so “Overlord” creates a green light for gore against those same bastards. On the face of it we have a reason to kill and do it with vengeance. It’s like a horror/vengeance director’s perfect setting. From the little ink blot blood paratroopers on the movie poster to the opening scenes fleshing out D-Day, this film a huge set up. The pay off is nothing to sneeze at either.

It does what you imagine it will do based on the clues and the stuff you may or may not read on the internet. I think solid films like this will find a huge world-wide audience in time but as I write this, the box office numbers are flat. “Overlord” is adored by critics but sadly isn’t paying for itself … just yet. I predict it will in time. Remember now there are other ways that the box office a film can pad its earnings: streaming comes to mind. Netflix is also often helpful. But let’ get into this film and examine its pieces. There is a lot to count here as amazing. But is the whole greater than the sum of its parts?

Overlord (2018)
R | 1h 49min | Action , Horror , Mystery | 9 November 2018 (USA)
A little squad of American soldiers find horror behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day.
Director: Julius Avery
Writers: Billy Ray (screenplay by), Mark L. Smith (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Olivier

So, let’s start with the director. Julius Avery has one other film listed on his IMDB page, “Son of a Gun.” I have not seen it, it has a 6.3 rating on IMDB and over 20K ratings. That shows the 6.3 isn’t a fluke and is likely what the film really should rate. You get these films with 1k or less and it stands the chance of not being so accurate. 6.3 to me says: “This entertained about half the people that watched it.” Here is the IMDB synopsis: Locked up for a minor crime, 19 year old JR quickly learns the harsh realities of prison life. Protection, if you can get it, is paramount. JR soon finds himself under the watchful eye of Australia’s most notorious criminal, Brendan Lynch. But protection comes at a price. Lynch and his crew have plans for their young protegee. Upon release, JR must help secure Lynch’s freedom, staging a daring prison break. As a reward, he’s invited to join the crew as they plan a gold heist that promises to deliver millions. However, as things start to go wrong, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues. JR finds himself unsure of whom he can trust and on a collision course with his former mentor.

It sounds like a common crime story but again, I haven’t seen it. The only draw it might have would be that Ewan MacGregor is in it. It came out 2008 and I haven’t seen it yet. For me, that’s quite telling about my interest anyway.

I’m very surprised that the director has no information on his bio page except for his height. Please. You often get one chance at Hollywood success, I think it shows a lack of marketing and personal aspiration to not send IMDB SOMETHING to pt up about yourself. But hey, I won’t judge too much. I too often fail to do Twitter and social media correctly which in essence is what he has done with IMDB.

Before we get into the pieces of “Overlord” let’s have a listen to the trailer … (trailer)

The film “Overlord” (2018)
R | 1h 49min | Action , Horror , Mystery | 9 November 2018 (USA)
The very short and sweet description on IMDB is:
A little squad of American soldiers find horror behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day.

It’s definitely action and horror. The film starts out full throttle and rarely slows its pace. It’s also very dark, in terms of lighting and setting. I struggled to see who the actors were through the first 1/4 or so of the film. This is understandably the case because they are paying homage to D-Day, in fact the film was released near Veteran’s Day in America. Purposeful? Probably but the box office isn’t showing the effect of it. I guess it didn’t work.

I am 100% a pacifist. I respect the armed forces but it would never be my hope for my family. Having said that, My grandpa was a bomber in this war and he shared stories with me of being shot down in Germany. He said there were horrors everywhere on the ground. Somehow he was released and made it back home but the war really messed him up. I don’t see how showing realistic portrayal of those horrors can do anyone any good.

There are some things in this film. One or two reminded me of Frankensteins. The Germans are up to something in the tower. That’s the mystery part. It isn’t limited to the things I have mentioned. It be scary, there be monsters.

It’s war personified in the tower and everywhere else. The Germans are shown to be pawns of the Overlord and they pillage, rape, destroy, and murder anyone not on their hateful, evil Nazi side. Pretty common concept for cinema and theater. But this is a well made action/horror ride and I didn’t want to get off! The turns are predictable but t doesn’t matter. There are some truly great scenes from a few actors but ultimately, it’s a dark pulp horror simplified and on that level never fails to please.

This is a great war/action/horror film but more war/action than horror I think.

While I recommend “Overlord” there are some out there in the same theme of war or Nazi or both horror or better. Let me list a few movies that achieve a similar effect in film plot and theme:

First, Ones I have seen:
Under the Shadow
Pan’s Labyrinth
Hell Boy

Ones I haven’t seen:
Dead Snow
Below
Blood Creek
Zombie Lake
Shock Waves
Frankenstein’s Army
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
Puppet Master I
Puppet Master II
Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge
Horrors of War (Zombies of War)

In conclusion, while it was a very dark film in terms of lighting, I really enjoyed this latest addition to Nazi, War, Action filmmaking. I give this one a 9/10. Go see it! Let’s see if we can help out at the box office.

First Man – written review

Pay attention to the title and the movie will impress you more. Have you seen it yet? If you so will agree I think this is a film about one man and not America, space, the group called NASA (which is now privatized) pr any other entity. This is about the IRL character played by Ryan Gosling: Neil Armstrong. You should see it only if you can manage to not expect a dog and pony show with theatrical space effects (ie; “Gravity”). This one take us inward.

First Man (2018) PG-13 | 2h 21min | Biography , Drama , History | 12 October 2018 (USA)A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Director: Damien Chazelle Writers: Josh Singer (screenplay by), James R. Hansen (based on the book by) Stars: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke

Our director is my namesake “Damien” Chazelle. You may know his work “La La Land.” That is a musical, this has no music at all. It has disappointed some critics who say it’s slow and brooding. I agree it is, but that’s what makes it special. I can look at this one man and see my own struggles that I am never recognized for. He took a giant leap for mankind but along the way he was continuously challenged. This is an unexpectedly slow film that offers the viewer an internal study of Neil Armstrong. It’s also a reminder that we set our own goals for true success. There are scenes in this film I will never forget. I would have liked more development of Armstrong but that’s my only gripe. 8/10.

The Super, Incident in a Ghost Land, The Bar, Satan’s Slaves | The Damien Riley Podcast

Happy Halloween! In this episode I preview four horror movies: The Super, Incident in a Ghost Land, The Bar, and Satan’s Slaves. I liked some more than others. Have a listen and see if any so…

Source: The Super, Incident in a Ghost Land, The Bar, Satan’s Slaves | The Damien Riley Podcast

Satan’s Slaves

If creepiness you seek, look no further. An old Indonesian house, shady silhouettes, and a fairly good ghost story make this one work quite well. In the Halloween spirit? This is one way to get there. And, as was the case so much in the 70’s, we have a modernized satanic element that usually freaks audiences out.

Satan’s Slaves (2017)
Pengabdi Setan (original title)
Not Rated | 1h 47min | Drama , Horror , Mystery | 28 September 2017 (Indonesia)
Satan’s Slaves Poster
After dying from a strange illness that she suffered for 3 years, a mother returns home to pick up her children.
Director: Joko Anwar
Writers: Joko Anwar, Sisworo Gautama Putra (based on a movie written by) | 3 more credits »
Stars: Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Dimas Aditya

Since this is an Indonesian film, I’m not familiar with the director. He has done a great job here though combining music and timing to create a spookiness that stays with you. The idea of another world so close to you is terrifying. I had a hard time feeling sorry for these kids because they couldn’t live off their mother anymore. They all seemed able-bodied. While taking care of “Mom,” as they call her, they may find out the answers to a mystery. What’s more, those answers may be more than they bargained for. This is a dark, creepy project that definitely got me in the mood for Halloween tomorrow! It’s a little slow for my usual horror preferences but it did the trick in giving me that feeling I just couldn’t shake. 7/10.

Ghostland

It was the cover that drew me in to watch this one. A cracking China doll’s face superimposed on a young woman’s looked highly creepy and when it comes to horror, That’s what I look for. The backstory begin quickly and what were meant as jump scares, fell flat for me. After that, the whole movie spends its time trying to explain and understand these quick by violent attacks. The creepiness just wasn’t there for me.

Incident in a Ghostland (2018)
Ghostland (original title)
Not Rated | 1h 31min | Drama , Horror , Mystery | 22 June 2018 (USA)
Incident in a Ghostland Poster
Trailer 2:01 | Trailer1 VIDEO | 37 IMAGES
Watch Now
From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video
A mother of two who inherits a house is confronted with murderous intruders on the first night in their new home and fights for her daughters’ lives. Sixteen years later when the daughters reunite at the house, things get really strange.
Director: Pascal Laugier
Writer: Pascal Laugier
Stars: Crystal Reed, Mylène Farmer, Anastasia Phillips

The director has “Martyrs” to his name. Wow, you just need to take that in in a moment of silence. The guy wrote and directed Martyrs. Nuff said, this should be good then.

While imperfect it is a good film for die hard horror fans. It has lots of fans and lots of detractors but the film itself is creepy and worth a watch. I will say it is NOTHING like Martyrs though. You can tel not a fraction of the energy went into this one. Too bad. What we get anyway is ok.

6/10

Hate U Give, The Strangers 2, Only the Brave, more | The DRP Podcast

This set was very entertaining and moving. At times however, one film “The Hate U Give” had me doing some deep soul searching and that’s not always fun, especially when I seem to …

Source: Hate U Give, The Strangers 2, Only the Brave, more | The DRP Podcast

The Bar

Such a simple title could prove uninteresting for some but the truth is this film is a wild horror ride! Yes it was created in Spain so the necessary subtitles are there. I have to say they were not a problem for me whatsoever. In some cases, they do bother me but not in this one, in fact they enhanced the movie! Like the Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters on Maple Street,” we have a group of people trapped and forced to get along. Put a little deadly airborne virus in there and you have chaos that is often quite hilarious.

The Bar (2017)
El bar (original title)
1h 42min | Comedy , Horror , Thriller | 24 March 2017 (Spain)
The Bar Poster
In bustling downtown Madrid, a loud gunshot and two mysterious deaths trap a motley assortment of common urbanites in a decrepit central bar, while paranoia and suspicion force the terrified regulars to turn on each other.
Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Writers: Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Álex de la Iglesia
Stars: Blanca Suárez, Mario Casas, Carmen Machi

I’ll skip my usual director hat tip because I don’t know any of the cast or crew. I will say this is 100% horror, don’t be misled by the comedy tag. It’s funny because we see these people at their worst, stuck in this bar and turning on each other every scene.I guess in a very far fetched way it’s like Saw in that respect but with not nearly as much gore. The overall story of the tragedy that was happening around the bar could have been explained better but that’s minute. 9/10

The Super

The Super is pretty super but not super duper a ghost I know says. There’s some great creepy footage in this film. An old building is a great setting to build creepiness into suspense. As is with most mysteries, things are not as they seem. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you like how they look when the mystery is revealed. There’s pros and cons for me. Regardless, it’s a dark, foreboding horror/thriller/mystery that keeps you guess all the way through. Discovering the answer may be more difficult for some rather than others. It’s a good one though and I think this film delivers based on its popularity score on IMDb.

The Super (2017)
R | 1h 30min | Horror , Thriller | 19 October 2018 (USA)
A man becomes the superintendent of a large New York City apartment building where people mysteriously go missing.
Director: Stephan Rick
Writer: John J. McLaughlin
Stars: Patrick John Flueger, Val Kilmer, Louisa Krause

Director Stephan Rick has done a lot of stuff in German. The one I recognize the most in his bio is “The Good Neighbor” which I have not yet seen but want to.

This film focuses on intruders and peeping toms inside your home. There are some great shots that pan down hallways and enter into clickety clack unlocked doors. It’s an average film, not amazing but the scares that takes place in the apartments are truly creepy. Kilmer is great as always. His voodoo obsessed character isn’t the only supe though so keep that in mind. I think the story takes an odd turn but then again, most the film consists of small and large turns throughout the runtime. I might have preferred a straight ahead story without so many twists that focused on the creepy nature of others having access to ones private living space. It isn’t that at all. It’s much more convoluted than that but on some level, I found it very fun and spooky. I can’t tell you why really or it would spoil the plot. Have you seen it? Let’s talk about it in the comments. I welcome spoilers there.

%d bloggers like this: