Sunday, October 22, 2017

BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99

Ever since seeing KILL BILL VOL. 1 and KILL BILL VOL.2 I've always wanted more exploitation films shown at the theater. Since then, Hollywood has put out more than a handful. And a ton has shown up on VOD. My favorite exploitation film this year so far is JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2. But it may have two serious contenders, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 and WHEELMAN!

First off, it was a miracle that I even got to see BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 on the big screen! A big shout out to my local Alamo Drafthouse for making that happen.

For me BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 came out of nowhere. As I recall I don't remember hearing a thing about the movie until it became a hit a this years Fantastic Fest. It didn't take much for me to be interested. A gritty prison movie starting Vince Vaughn, and it's from the guy who directed BONE TOMAHAWK. Consider me instantly sold!

Not always, but it seems that most films that get bought at Fantastic Fest don't get shown again until a year later. So I was surprised how quickly BRAWL IN CELL BLOCL 99 was available on VOD and theaters. Not that long ago if I was wanting to see a film like BRAWL I'd have to rent it on VOD. But now that there is a Alamo Drafthouse where I live, the odds of me seeing more independent fare on the big screen has risen.

BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 is about a former boxer named Bradly (don't call him Brad) who get's laid off from his job as a Repo man or Tow Truck driver, it's definitely one of the two. Adding to his bad day Bradly comes home catching his wife about to leave him. Frustrated, he takes his anger out on her car. As my friend put it, Bradly goes 'Street Fighter' Challenger Mode on the car by busting windows with his fist, chopping of side mirrors, and ripping off the hood of a car. Yeah, don't mess with this guy!

After a heartfelt talk they decide to stay together. But Bradley needs a job and some good money. Temporarily he decides to run drugs. Several months go by and Bradley's wife Lauren is pregnant and their financial situation has improved. One day Gil, Bradley's boss tells him to run drugs with a couple other guys. Bradley has a bad feeling about the job but Gil convinces him to do it anyway.

Sure enough Bradley's gut feeling is right and because his two new "co-workers" decide to go cowboy on the police, he kills them. Not giving up Gil or any other associates, Bradley is served a sentence of 7 years in prison.

After about what feels like only his first week in prison Bradley gets blackmailed into getting transferred to a maximum security facility. He's ordered to kill a inmate or his baby will be aborted. Bradley goes along with it and gets transferred, only to discover that he's been double crossed and has now entered a world of utter hell.

BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 is the most gritty and violent film I've seen this year! Yeah, JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2 has a higher body count (therefore more violent) but the brutality that Bradley lays on his oppressors is just as shocking as the Boogyman's gun-fu! Seriously, Bradley could go toe to toe with Captain America and I'd probably be putting money on Bradley.

If you like gritty exploitation movies then I highly recommend BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99! Sometimes Alamo Drafthouse curates a pre-show before the movies. There is a reason that they showed the trailer for RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY before the movie.

HAPPY DEATH DAY

I love horror movies. Over the past few years that love has been an oscolating wave, but overall I still admire the genre. During a slump I found myself seriously thinking about retiring from watching scary movies. My reasoning at the time was because of burn out and just not interested anymore. Then I started to watch some cult classics that I had never seen before; and voila, I fell in love again!

The movie that got me back into loving the fun of horror films was PEICES, a grindhouse cult classic from the early eighties. The film is popular for it's over-the-top slasher gore. Some scenes are pretty tasteless, but a horror fan should laugh a bit for how ridiculous PIECES gets!

This is a review of HAPPY DEATH DAY I promise, I only bring up PIECES because it's the film that reminded be that horror should be a fun genre. And HAPPY DEATH DAY is fun; unfortunately, I just was not the audience for it.

College student Tree, relives the day of her murder over and over again. With the help of a fellow student they decide that to end the loop, Tree find out who her killer is. Yes, it's GROUNDHOG DAY meets HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME.

In the beginning I was on board with HAPPY DEATH DAY! For starters, I loved the look of the movie. It has this '80's soft focus to it. I felt that I was watching a film from that decade. Next, Jessica Rothe was superb as Tree, our main character! She carried the film for me all the way to the end. As a fun bonus I loved spotting who the killer was (I watch too many of these things) as soon as they appeared on screen! It was during the montage of Tree getting killed over and over that I started to loose interest fast.

My biggest issue with HAPPY DEATH DAY is it's PG-13 rating. Now I'm not asking for the movie to be a gore-fest, but the film should meet expectations somewhere around the middle? And for those that are thinking "HAPPY DEATH DAY is a movie that doesn't need gore", I think it does? It's important for me to remember that HALLOWEEN (1978) had only a few specks of blood during it's entire runtime.

But HALLOWEEN, HAPPY DEATH DAY is not. Where HALLOWEEN relied on mood and atmosphere, HAPPY DEATH DAY is more rooted in the look and feel of a mid-eighties and post-SCREAM slasher film. While mostly butchered by the MPAA, the era of slashers that I'm referring to were still rooted in some nice splatter every now and then. Something that HAPPY DEATH DAY is lacking.

By the final act of the film it felt like I was watching a late '90's horror movie? Remember those? Where every horror movie poster was emo profile pictures of the cast. SCREAM knock-offs that were considered good because horror had been gone from the multi-plex theaters for so long that we didn't know any better? It wasn't until films like CABIN FEVER and HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES that made us realize that horror kinda sucked in the mid-nineties.

On a positive note the horror genre has been on the rise as of late. IT, GET OUT, SPLIT, GERALD'S GAME, and THE BABYSITTER are just a few titles that I think really hit home runs for the genre! And with the success of HAPPY DEATH DAY, maybe we'll see a resurgence of the slasher flick. As you know, horror in Hollywood always comes in waves, and it's about time for the slasher to return.

This year Halloween falls on a weeknight and next weekend is Season 2 of STRANGER THINGS. I doubt it but I will try my best to review the season as soon as I finish it. There may be some other treats I'll share this week!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

BLADE RUNNER: The Final Cut

About a month ago I got to see BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT on the big screen. The local Alamo Drafthouse held a screening of it in preparation of the highly anticipated sequel BLADE RUNNER 2049.

Somewhere around the mid-nineties I rented the original BLADE RUNNER (the cut with voice overs). The movie was entertaining, and I absolutely loved the special effects (which still hold up in my opinion). At the time, the Deckard (Harrison Ford) voice overs didn't bother me, I just excepted it as part of the movie.

It wasn't until a few years later when I saw the Director's Cut that the film really blew my mind, and found the viewing experience better with the voice overs taken out.

Another thing that blew my mind with the Director's Cut was the now added notion that Deckard was a Replicant. I thought it was the coolest thing! Thinking on the film these days, the theory doesn't make much sense? In interviews Ford has stated that Deckard being a Replicant is dumb. And with the character appearing in the sequel, it makes the idea non plausible. Seeing that Ford hates the theory makes me believe it won't even be brought up in the new movie.

I haven't seen the movie in a long time but still consider it a favorite. It's strange that I don't own it on Blu-Ray? The other day I found THE FINAL CUT in a bargain bin at Walmart. Unfortunately, the disc is bare bones with no special features. Soon I'll just order a version that the special features, and the Director's Cut. THE FINAL CUT is great, but my gut tells me I like the Director's Cut better. It's been so long that I cannot tell the difference, so it probably doesn't matter?

Watching BLADE RUNNER today, I've picked up more on what the film is actually about. Back in the day I loved the futuristic look of the film and it's special effects. My favorite thing about the movie still to this day is the Film Noir aspect. But now that I'm older I like the philosophy of religion, and moral implications of tinkering with genetic engineering.

The Tyrell Corporation advanced robot evolution into the NEXUS phase; a being virtually identical to a human being, known as Replicants. The NEXUS-6 Replicant was superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence to the genetic engineers who created them.

The NEXUS-6 were used as slave labor on off-world colonies, but after a bloody mutiny the Replicants became illegal on Earth, punishable by death. A police squad known as Blade Runner Units are tasked to hunt down and destroy the androids.

A group of NEXUS-6 Replicants smuggled their way back to Earth in search of the creator. Deckard, a retired Blade Runner is called in to track down the 4 Replicants and terminate them on site.

For 1982 the special effects in BLADE RUNNER hold up well. Really well. Watching the 4k Master on the big screen was a near perfect presentation. Probably the best the film has looked since 1982! Even on a flat screen at home the Blu-Ray is gorgeous.

As I mentioned earlier, I loved watching the film as a science fiction noir. A hard as nails detective going around a futuristic Los Angeles hunting android fugitives, what's not to love! Now that I'm older I actually feel for the Replicants. Their humanity has more heart than any human.

Watching the film these days I take more notice of the eye motifs throughout the movie. The old saying "Eyes are windows to the soul". The obvious question then is do Replicants have souls? Without going into spoilers, the answer is yes! At least that's what I believe.

On the first few viewings I always just thought that the four NEXUS Replicants were just insane murderous androids? But now I see them differently, I see them as victims of circumstance. The opening scene where one of them blows away a Blade Runner for mentioning how the Replicant "feels about his mother", is total disdain for it's creator.

I could go on and on with further analysis but my amateur attempt would ruin the film. Practice makes perfect, but not on a classic like BLADE RUNNER. A audio commentary would better suit me I think? I've always wanted to do an audio commentary with one of my favorite films, maybe someday?

I'm cutting it pretty darn close with this post and the release of BLADE RUNNER 2049. The early buzz is thus far extremely positive and I cannot wait to see the new film!

Monday, October 2, 2017

IT (2017)

A little over a year ago I began reading Stephen King's IT in preparation for the new film. I got about 400 pages in and got distracted. I never picked it back up. The novel wasn't bad, I just have a short attention span with books a lot of the time.

About a month ago I picked up my iPad and started reading (from the beginning) IT again. Needless to say I didn't get the book read before the movie. This didn't concern me much because I knew the film adaptation was going to be different than the source material.

The day had come that I was going to see the movie. I was pumped! It had been awhile since there had been this much excitement for a horror movie. The release of IT was a pop culture event!

I saw the film weeks ago, and loved it! It reminded me so much of THE GOONIES and THE MONSTER SQUAD. There hasn't been a blog post till now because I wanted to finish the book. Well today that finally happened.

Right off the bat I just wanna say that I think I like the book better than the movie? There is still a lot to process about that because the novel is so long (maybe too long). The thing I love most about the novel is that the epic story is a monster mash of sorts. All the major Universal Monster make an appearance, and even a few 50's B-movie ones do too!

When watching the film, I so wished that Warner Bros paid a little bit to get the rights of classic movie monsters for Pennywise to transform into. It's 1988 in the movie adaptation, so Freddy or Jason would've been perfect!

Another thing that makes me think that I'll like the book better in the long run is that I don't think IT: CHAPTER II can do the story with the adults justice? In the novel it switches back and forth so beautifully and meticulously, that I don't how the filmmakers could do it, especially if the kids stuff is done? I personally think scenes with the kids were filmed knowing full well that there'd be a sequel?

Enough with the comparisons, on with what I thought about IT.

As I mentioned earlier, I loved the movie. Two of my favorite genres of film are horror and coming-of-age, and IT succeeds at both. I was never scared while watching the movie, but more times that not I was creeped out by the imagery in the film. The same feeling I get when watching a Nightmare On Elm Street movie, a franchise that had a big influence (another plus) on the film that's easy to tell.

I have some criticisms on the horror elements of the film, the jump scares we're lame. The only two that I give a pass are the hobo and when Pennywise jumps out of the slideshow. Everything else was lazy. Luckily the tone and atmosphere win over the jump scares.

The home run of IT is the coming-of-age tale between these 7 kids. The film tugged at my heart strings a little bit because I was the same age as these kids in 1988. Was I a "Loser"? I don't think so, but I sure as hell wasn't one of the cool kids. I liked movies and comic books too much, and I sucked at sports.

The casting of the kids was perfect! I won't go into spoilers but finally Hollywood gives us gem of a film where kids being kids looks and feels real. Ben was the kid who I identified most with, a youngster with a weight problem and super shy.

The film centers on a group of kids living in the town of Derry, Maine. Their leader Bill, is determined to find his missing younger brother George. You see, Derry has a missing kids problem of sorts. And not only that, but strange stuff happens all the time in the quaint little town.

Bill and the rest of the Losers Club finally figure out that some strange force has been terrorizing Derry for many many years. Every 27 years or so, It, better known as Pennywise The Dancing Clown feeds (literally mostly) on the fear of the townsfolk. The victims are mostly children. I think it's because kids are most always easily frightened.

When it comes to the Losers Club, Pennywise has met his match! Don't get me wrong, he can get the best of them when it comes to frights, but something is off? It's like the kids have luck on their side, or maybe a turtle? Turtle? Yeah, the novel gets weird and word is the second film will too.

About now you're probably thinking what I thought of the T.V. mini-series back in the day? I'll I'm going to say is that piece of nostalgia does not hold up at all. Sorry, it's crap! And, please stop referring to the new film as a remake. It's an insult to the film. Calm down, if you like the mini-series that's cool. Who am I to take someones joy away from them?

Since August I've been on a Stephen King kick, and there are no signs of slowing down. The other day I watched GERALD'S GAME (review coming soon), and I bought King's new novel Sleeping Beauties. With the exception of THE DARK TOWER, 2017 has been a pretty good year for King fans.

Happy October,

Friday, August 25, 2017

Tough Guy Cinema: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK

This is going to be a new ongoing series highlighting tough guy films. The selection of movies will be based on what my local Alamo Drafthouse programs. This blog is completely unaffiliated with the popular theater chain. Their programming inspires me to write about older films, classic movies. Revisiting movies on the big screen is fun, and in most cases essential.

As I've mentioned on my blog before, I am a huge John Carpenter fan. I was a fan of his movies before I even began to notice he was the director. If I remember correctly it wasn't until I was a teenager that I put two and two together that the filmmaker directed a bunch of movies I loved! Watching HALLOWEEN for the first time with one of my childhood friends (also a movie buff and Carpenter fan) was the movie that started this revelation. I quickly wanted to revisit every John Carpenter film!

My friend and I started our John Carpenter renaissance on the eve of DVD. At the time VHS was so cheep and my buddy snagged a copy of Carpenter's first film ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13. That day Carpenter became my favorite filmmaker.

My earliest memory of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was seeing it on cable. It's been so long that I cannot remember, but my educated guess is that the U.S.A. Network was the channel it played on the most? I also remember the poster at a young age, probably from the video store?

While channel surfing, occasionally I'd see bits and pieces of the movie. I always thought that ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was a scary movie (probably because how dark the film looked and that I was 5 years old) so it never stayed very long before changing the channel. It must have been something about how The Duke's henchmen looked. And there is that scene early in the film where a woman gets pulled underground by a bunch of hands. No Thanks!

It was years later when I watched the film in its entirety, renting it from my local video store.

My impressions were mixed. The story was awesome, but the film itself looked really dated (the VHS copy was in pretty poor shape), and I laughed at a lot of the acting. That being said, Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken was awesome! I loved that there is this running joke in the film that everybody thinks he was dead. If I had to guess, this sounds like a BIG JAKE influence. Now that I think about it,there are a quite a lot of John Wayne and Howard Hawks tributes/influences in the Carpenter and Russell films!

For those that don't know, in the year 1997 crime in the United States has reached an all time high. Manhattan Island in New York City is now a penal colony. There is no law enforcement presence inside the island. Once you enter you can never leave.

One the way to global peace conference, Air Force One crashes lands in the prison while ejecting the leader of the free worlds escape pod. The president is immediately held for ransom. Enter Snake Plissken.

Pliskin has 24 hours to save the president so that he can present his speech on time.

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK maybe dated here and there, but the film (and character) is still a classic! The films musical score is still fantastic as well!

The night was almost perfect but Alamo's pre-show before the movie was highly disappointing. A perfect opportunity to showcase some amazingly cheesy knock-off trailers, it didn't happen. They didn't even show trailers for other John Carpenter films? What we got instead was some lame short of a guy spitting water out of his mouth?

Redemption is coming thankfully with the announcement of the BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Dinner Party next month. I cannot wait!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

DETROIT

As I sat watching Kathryn Bigelow's new film DETROIT I couldn't stop thinking about her other films THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY. Her new film completes this kind of Docudrama trilogy. Or maybe not? The Docudrama might be Bigelow's thing from now on?

While watching DETROIT I also kept thinking about the documentary THE THIN BLUE LINE, and even Kurosawa's RASHOMON (me and my cinematic mind). But mainly I kept thinking about how gifted Kathryn Bigelow is as a filmmaker. Her eye for detail is amazing! Once the movie started I could not blink. And I became a fly on the wall during the raid at the Algiers Motel.

DETROIT opens up with how the riots started. A welcome home party for a couple of Vietnam vets gets crashed by the police because the building did not have a liquor license. Weak, but I guess that's 1967 for ya! So Detroit's finest fill 3 paddy wagons full of African Americans and send them off. The excessive act sets off the riots leaving Motor City a war zone.

Some time has passed but there is still unrest and a curfew, state police and national guard are helping city police.

In the first act of the film there are three storylines going on:

Three racist police officers are out on patrol, and one of them shoots and kills a defenseless looter. His superior turns the case to the DA.

Next we meet a young man pulling a triple shift working as a security guard to protect a grocery store. This character, played by John Boyega (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, ATTACK THE BLOCK) stole the show for me. His character Melvin Dismukes brings a level headedness to all the terror and chaos happening in the film. Expect to see a nomination come Oscar time

And lastly we meet a group of young talented singers called The Dramatics. They are just about to perform in front of their biggest crowd yet, when all of a sudden the police shut it down because of some rioting. Because of the chaos the group shack up at the Algiers Motel.

Larry, lead singer of the group and his friend Fred meet two lovely young ladies (maybe hookers?). The four of them go back to the room where the ladies are staying. Turns out that the room already has a party going on. Things get tense when a young gentleman gets distraught at all the racist police. Trying to scare some of people in the room by making a point, he shoots off a starter pistol.

A block or two away police and national guardsmen think they are under attack by a sniper. Back up is called and the racist cops we met earlier take the call (uh-oh). And being a hero, Dismukes locks up the grocery store and goes to help (uh-oh again).

The raid on the Algiers Motel takes place in about the middle of the film, and it is without a doubt the strongest act in the movie. Here is where Bigelow's background in genre filmmaking comes into play. The raid is intense and you feel like you're watching a horror movie!

Unfortunately, DETROIT starts to become a little long in the tooth in the third act of the film. It's still a good movie but the trial of the 3 police officers just felt off? Or maybe it was the fact that I had a feeling how badly things were going to end with a jury of all white people deciding the fate of the officers! And when it got to the end of the film I started to think to myself "There was no 'Based On True Events' title card at the beginning of the movie"? Odd?

My only complaint about the film is that I wish it was based more on true events. The end of the movie states that there just wasn't enough evidence in the Algiers incident, and they had to dramatize most of it. If the filmmakers were able to accomplish this I think DETROIT would have been even better! With that being said, the fact remains that 3 young black men were murdered and no justice was found!

Now you know why I thought of films like THE THIN BLUE LINE and RASHOMON.

DETROIT is Highly Recommended!!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

THE DARK TOWER

Where to begin? Well, for starters I should be thankful that I'm not a fan who has waited years for a film adaptation of the book series. To those folks I feel your pain. Lots of stuff that I've loved as a kid has been adapted to the big screen that just didn't translate well. THE DARK TOWER feels like a massive step backward in film adaptation? A film based on a 7 book series mashed together in 97 minutes? Are you kidding me? Boycott SONY!

Fans of Stephen King's beloved fantasy series deserved better. THE DARK TOWER beckons a 7 film franchise much like Harry Potter. If the books had more of a general King audience appeal to them, the Harry Potter treatment may have happened?

The original plan was a feature film followed by a television series; that'd be 4 movies and 3 T.V. shows. That idea sort of got dumped and slightly changed. The plan as of now (which will die on the vine come Monday) is 1 film and 1 show.

In anticipation for the movie I stared reading 'The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger'. I was instantly hooked! Seriously, I could have finished the book in a weekend, but ya know, movies and such.

Talking with a fan of the book series it was clear I didn't need to finish the book before the movie. I was reminded the film is a sequel to the book series. What a cool concept, a blank slate so that fans won't be upset at whatever the movie doesn't get "right".

Seeing that I am a newbie to the series it'd be difficult to explain the plot of what exactly is going on. Right now all I know besides the film is there is a man named Roland chasing another man across the desert. It's hinted at that this struggle has been going on and on for ages.

IMDB says: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

So the Man in Black is trying to destroy the Dark Tower, that way nothing can stop evil entering the world(s). In our world, known as Keystone Earth, a boy named Jake has dreams of Roland, Walter, and a place called Mid-World. He illustrates his dreams and one day stumbles upon a doorway leading to land of his dreams.

Jake quickly meets Roland, the Gunslinger. After talking about his dreams and showing him a drawing of the Man in Black, the two embark on a quest to save the universe. Walter learns of Jake and captures him to aid in destroying the Dark Tower. Will Roland save Jake and finally defeat Walter, the Man in Black?

The verdict is still out on if I think THE DARK TOWER sucks. I've seen worse this year, I think? it's really going to be painful if I have to rewatch THE MUMMY and compare. My feelings as of right now are that THE DARK TOWER is just such a forgettable film. I did a double feature the night I watched it, and by the time I drove to the other theater I completely forgot about THE DARK TOWER.

I can't be as upset or mad as fans of the books, but there we're some things about the movie that down right pissed me off! The thing that has been bugging me ever since is that pretty much every action sequence takes place at night. And why are the action scenes at night you ask? Because the budget was so cheep that special effects took a back seat. I counted 3 action sequences shot at night (probably filtered to look like evening). Somebody that doesn't watch very many movies might think this is okay? But for seasoned moviegoers it's a clear indication that the films budget just wasn't there for special effects.

Final thoughts, for the fans sake I really really hope that one day THE DARK TOWER gets an awesome screen adaptation. I'm holding out for the television series to redeem the movie, but who knows at this point? Right now THE DARK TOWER is a rental at best.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

ATOMIC BLONDE

What if JOHN WICK opened up with the 'Boogyman' himself in a interrogation room? We fade in on a bruised up face of John, and a couple of police detectives asking him "Okay, start from the beginning."? The movie would be pretty boring. Yes, the movie would retain all the amazing action but the stakes are now zero. This is my biggest issue with ATOMIC BLONDE.

Maybe it's too much of a nitpick; but seriously, during every action scene I knew she was going to make it out alive. Unlike in JOHN WICK where I was on the edge of my seat wondering if the title character was going to survive or not? Part of it was because Wick had a death wish.

In ATOMIC BLONDE I found myself not caring because the audience knows she's going to make it out alive. That being said, I loved every action scene in the film! Director David Leitch knows how to direct action. The era of Paul Greengrass/shaky cam action is over, and good riddance!

Besides the great action set pieces, the look of the film is beautiful. Set in 1989, ATOMIC BLONDE really felt like an Eighties movie. I definitely got a Michael Mann vibe, and maybe even Walter Hill!

The only throwback quality that I thought missed the mark was the film's soundtrack? Don't get me wrong the music choices were excellent! I just thought that the execution of said songs were off a bit? Maybe BABY DRIVER spoiled me to much?

One last good thing I liked about the movie was that ATOMIC BLONDE just didn't feel like a JOHN WICK clone. Instead we get a spy movie! Good move on Leitch's part! I guess the trailers hinted at it and I just wasn't paying close attention?

Here's what IMDB says:

An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

I really don't feel like getting into spoilers because the plot of ATOMIC BLONDE is kind of a mess. No more a mess than say SPECTRE, but a mess nonetheless. My saving grace in piecing together the plot was only due to the fact that I've seen a lot of movies. Probably a cop out on my end, but it's true. I figured out who Lorraine was 5 minutes into the film. And the bad guy is pretty predictable.

In the end so what, because the action was cool. I paid to see Charlize Theron kick ass for 2 hours, and I felt that I got my money's worth.

And I cannot wait for ATOMIC BLONDE 2: JAGGED LITTLE KILL (ya know, the Nineties)! Because maybe in that one she won't be telling a story how it all went down, that way the stakes can be a higher!

In all honesty I will probably be seeing ATOMIC BLONDE in the theater again just because I am a fan of the action choreography and the director. It's a dream come true for me that we are finally getting American action films like this! 2017 is shaping up to becoming a great year in the action genre. It's dumb as all get out but I'm including xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE in that roster.

Final thoughts, ATOMIC BLONDE is highly recommend for fans of stylish films and action movies. Do not miss it in the theater!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Horror Show: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

The Horror Show is a new monthly post I'm going to try based on Alamo Drafthouse showcasing horror films once a month. We'll see how this goes? They are just starting out, so the movies might be slow going at first, let's hope not! My intent is to tell you the reader about the experience. Which will be even more cool once the theater gets their 35mm projector up and running!

Last week one of my dreams came true, I got to see the original A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET on the big screen! Now, you're probably thinking "Hasn't this guy reviewed that movie before"? Yes I have. In that review I mainly went on and on about how I thought the film was a classic, but mentioned more than once that Part 3 was my favorite. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS is still my favorite. This time around I'm going to try and focus more on the original and say a few things about watching it on the big screen at Alamo Drafthouse!

Let's start with the pre-show shall we! The 30 minutes before showtime was more than I imagined it would be! They showed music videos from DREAM WARRIORS, THE DREAM MASTER, and THE DREAM CHILD. I always get a kick out of watching the Dokken video with Freddy in it. The song Dream Warriors sucks but the best part is Freddy waking up from a nightmare, which is the band's music video. Classic! The other music videos were pretty forgettable; however, seeing The Fat Boys was pretty nostalgic.

Another highlight of mine was seeing those old Freddy Trivia hotline commercials. I remember in Jr. High always wanting to call the number but me and my friend could never get our parents permission. The thing was probably an overpriced scam anyways?

Instead of ELM STREET trailers they showed this promo about how DREAM WARRIORS was well on it's way to breaking VHS rental records. Or maybe it was purchases? It was at this moment that I felt that the pre show was a little too catered for the third film. I guess it makes since because that was the peak of the franchises popularity.

On with the movie!

By now all of you should know what A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is about. You've got child killer Fred Krueger haunting the teenagers of Elm Street because their parents murdered him in a house fire. But the main thing is how do you stop a killer who attacks you in your dreams? That's what remains scary about the first film. Writer and director Wes Craven knew what was scary.

The film is still scary but after seeing it as many times as I have, there's nothing really frighting about it anymore. Well except for the bloody body bag being dragged across the school hallways, that still gives me the chills! With that being said, seeing A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET on the big screen made the whole experience immersive. Everything is larger than life. For lack of a better word it made the dream world more nightmarish.

Watching the film on the big screen I noticed things I hadn't before. Like in the climax when Nancy is looking for Freddy and sho picks up Tina's crucifix, you can see Rod's switchblade. I realize it's plain as day but for the fist time (I believe) I noticed Nancy picking up her boyfriends bloody headphones. I've had to have seen that before, and just forgotten?

The audience was fun and into the film! This wasn't a movie party so the strict no talking and no cell phone policy was in place. I didn't notice very much screams from the audience which I found odd? Maybe it was a full house of die hard Freddy fans? But what I did notice was the chuckles due to some bad acting and bad dialogue. Heather Langenkamp who plays Nancy just isn't the best actress. An opinion like that is pretty blasphemous seeing that Nancy is the most iconic Elm Street kid. And I want to stress that the character is the best thing about the film. It's just some of her line deliveries are down right bad/hilarious!

Nancy had a few laughs from the audience but nothing compares to her mom! I have only seen one good performance from Ronee Blakley, she did an amazing job as a country western singer in the film NASHVILLE. Everything else I've seen her in she is pretty terrible. In ELM STREET, I really think she didn't give a crap about the film. The audience was rolling almost every time she uttered a line of dialogue. I laughed too, but was also getting embarrassed for her.

I've mentioned it in my first review, but my favorite thing about A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is worth repeating.

My favorite scene is the climax of the movie. We see a montage of Nancy setting traps all around her house for when she pulls Freddy out of her dream and into the real world. I think that's what I like most about the Nancy character. She fights back! It's easy to write off these slasher movies as 'women in peril' films, but not this one, not A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Dream becomes reality more and more as the film progresses. I could be wrong, but I really think that from the moment Nancy's boyfriend dies and till the end of the movie, it's all a dream. All that work rendering Freddy powerless was for nothing because pulling him into the 'real' world was still just a dream. Of course I could be completely wrong on this, or am I?

In conclusion, I am thrilled beyond measure that I got to see one of my favorite slasher flicks on the big screen! The only thing that would've made the night better was a 35mm print? I honestly believe that's coming! In the meantime, I plan on seeing more old favorites (maybe even some new ones) at the Alamo Drafthouse Horror Show!

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

The year had to have been 1999, or somewhere around then? A couple of friends of mine got me 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY on DVD for my birthday. It was my favorite DVD for awhile. In heavy rotation there were three movies I'd play endlessly; ALIEN, THE MATRIX, and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.

The timing was just right for some reason? I think I was just becoming interested in film, the movie buff was born. My curiosity with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY was the DVD cover. What was that astronaut in awe of? What did the astronauts find on the moon? All those questions were answered in digital video and Dolby Digital sound!

I was in awe from the second the film started! A black screen with classical music playing, no stars just darkness. The music faded out and the MGM logo appeared. Then the most famous music from the film started, Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. This time though there was space; along with the Earth, Moon, and Sun. It probably sounds cliche but that choice of music is still awesome to this day!

The film is about the evolution of humanity. Million of years ago during the Dawn of Man, aliens (or something else) nudged the process of evolution along by placing the Monolith on Earth. Man was born. Flash forward to say, 2001 (heh)? In the space age humankind discover a signal on the surface of the moon. It's another Monolith, and therefore another leap for mankind. 18 months later a crew is heading to Jupiter in hopes of contact with another Monolith.

On board the space vessel Discovery One, Dr. Frank Poole and Dr. Dave Bowman are in charge while the other cosmonauts are in cryo-sleep. Assisting the ship and it's crew on the quest is a state-of-the-art computer called H.A.L. 9000. The advanced computer alert Frank and Dave to a antenna that will soon malfunction. The antenna is disconnected only to discover that there will be no malfunction? H.A.L. 9000 concludes that his error must be a human one? Thinking there is something wrong, the two men decide to disconnect H.A.L. The computer becomes self aware and kills Dr. Poole.

Dr. Bowman successfully shuts down H.A.L. and continues the mission to Jupiter. Arriving at the plant Dave tries to make contact with the Monolith. In doing so leads him on a voyage into Beyond the Infinite!

If you've never seen 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and thought my plot synopsis is too spoiler heavy, don't worry I've ruined nothing. There is definitely deeper meanings going on in the film than what I just described to you. The film is more about a cinematic experience rather than traditional storytelling.

For those of you who have seen the film and either hate it or just don't get it? I feel you. There was a time when I'd hate this movie! Why is everything so slow? Where is the plot? As I mentioned earlier, I think the timing for me was just right? And watching on DVD felt important to me.

Director Stanley Kubrick has made a science-fiction masterpiece that still holds up today!

It had been a good 18 - 20 years since the last time I saw the film. A couple of weeks ago the Alamo Drafthouse showed the film on the big screen. The theme of their theater is 2001, so it was fitting that during their grand opening they showcased the movie! Finally getting to see 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY on the big screen was a dream come true. It's weird, the movies 2 hour and 30 minute runtime went by like a breeze! I must have been that much into it.

Two weeks later, and I'm still into it! The other day I ordered some Russian science-fiction films and I'll be reviewing one of them shortly.

In conclusion, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY isn't my favorite film of all time, I just marvel at it every time I watch it. !f you like real science-fiction (STAR WARS is space-opera folks) and have never seen 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY do yourself a favor and watch the film immediately. It'll be an experience you'll never forget!

Friday, July 28, 2017

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Imagine if you could eating a bowl of Lucky Charms but without any cereal and only the marshmallows. That's how I'd describe seeing VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS for the first time. After two bites you're probably done, and you might be sick...or have diabetes?

My feeling we're so mixed the first time I watched the film. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. The visual effects are amazing, but I knew deep down that wasn't the only thing good about the movie? Talking about VALERIAN to a friend at work I began to hate the film. I made up my mind that it wasn't very good. My thoughts on the film were put to rest.

A few days later I received some Russian science-fiction films in the mail. After watching the film SOLARIS, I started to think about VALERIAN again. The two films could not be further from one another, but they are both science-fiction films, and I've been on a big kick for the genre ever since watching 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY on the big screen for the first time ever!

I noticed that this week was the final time that Alamo Drafthouse was going to show VALERIAN in 3D. And 3D is the ONLY way to experience the film. So I decided to see it in the format one last time. If you love the film, then by all means 2D it on home video. But, your first experience must take place in Three Dimension.

VALERIAN probably isn't going to make my Top Ten list this year, but I sort of love the film after watching it a second time.

This film continues to get mixed reviews. And there is no middle ground, either you love it or hate it. My favorite criticism has been comparisons to the Star Wars Prequels. I find that kinda funny, and my disagreement will consist of me saying that VALERIAN is what George Lucas was trying to accomplish with those first two prequels. To me the movie was THE PHANTOM MENACE done correctly. If that's even a thing?

So you're probably thinking what the heck is VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS anyways? Something original? That's what I thought at first, but I was wrong. The film from visionary filmmaker Luc Besson is adapted from a French graphic novel published in the Sixties. And come to find out, the comic was very influential to films like Star Wars.

Tomorrow is the 4th anniversary of my favorite comic book store, and when I go there I'm going to ask them if they can order me a collection of the source material! I'm curious on how well Besson adapted the material? Even on the first viewing I loved how the viewer is dumped into the universe. No boring origin of Valerian and Laureline in the academy, instead we get a day in the life adventure of this interstellar team.

IMBD lays it all out pretty simply: A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

And that's all you really need to know about the plot of VALERIAN. If you're thinking it sounds pretty generic and been-there-seen-that, you wouldn't be wrong. But sometimes film is about the journey rather than the destination.

Probably my only criticism of the film is that while I adore it's lack of pointless exposition dumps, VALERIAN could have used some? I found myself confused in the mythology of it all. Another thing I found distracting was the guy who played Valerian, Dane DeHaan and his choice to sound like Keanu Reeves? I swear it's not just a coincidence!

Despite how great I thought the two leads in the film were, my favorite character is probably Bubble, a shape-shifting alien played by pop star Rihanna.

But of course, my favorite thing about VALERIAN is how the film looks! The best way I can describe the production design of this movie is to imagine a Roger Corman science-fiction film with a $200 million dollar budget! If you're a Corman fan, I think you know what I'm talking about.

By now you already know if VALERIAN is a movie for you, with all the criticism available to watch or read on the web zone.

In conclusion, if you love pulpy science-fiction then I highly recommend VALERIAN. Just please watch it in 3D if you can!

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

My Spider-Man comic book collection isn't that impressive. I started collecting the Web Slinger books in the early nineties well into the mid-nineties. There were a couple of gems during that time, for instance I have the full Todd McFarlane run on 'Spider-Man', and I have the first Appearance of Carnage. Other than that, the stories in my collection of books is nothing special.

But getting that first issue of 'Spider-Man' #1 was when I fell in love with the character and started getting serious about comic book collecting! I hope my dad never reads this but some days after school I'd read some of his old issues of 'The Amazing Spider-Man'. And when I say old issues, I mean the early ones. That's all I'm going to say.

Reading the current and old issues Spider-Man became my favorite superhero. A ranking that would continually go back and forth between him and Batman. And like any fan of Peter Parker the reason he was my favorite was because of the continuous balance of fighting crime, school, having a social life, and making it home in time for supper!

It's strange that in the 9 years I have been blogging about movies, not once have I posted about a Spider-Man film? So here's a quick summery: I like SPIDER-MAN, love SPIDER-MAN 2, and I thought SPIDER-MAN 3 was just okay. Venom was lame and I hated the third act of the film. But, I did like the soap opera with Peter and Mary Jane.

It's hilarious how Sony has basically left the two THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN movies out to dry. Those films I think we're just a sad mistake. There is things I like about both of them: Andrew Garfield did a pretty good Peter Parker, but after seeing what Tom Holland has brought to the role, Garfield is in last place. I like how they introduced a romance with Peter and Gwen Stacy. And lastly I thought The Lizard was cool. That fight in the high school was pretty cool!

Now on to what I liked about THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2: His suit looked awesome!

I really didn't care for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Not only did the movie feel like a rushed production but for some odd reason Sony tried to change Peter's origin story? The story presented his powers as some sort of family destiny? Lame!

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 performed pretty bad at the box office and I think after a year or two turned to Marvel Studios for help. This news got me so pumped! Finally, Spidey was coming home!

Still to this day my favorite scene in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR was the introduction of Spider-Man. Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man all on the silver screen together, comic book movie bliss! I cannot wait for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR! Disney showed off some footage at D23, and the description is the film I have been dreaming about since Thanos made an appearance in THE AVENGERS.

So what did I think of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING? I loved it! It's the best live action iteration of the character in my opinion. SPIDER-MAN 2 is still my favorite film of the franchise, but HOMECOMING represented the title character the best.

I love that the new film doesn't give us a third Peter Parker/Spider-Man origin story. Instead we the audience are plunged right into the first year of Parker's new powers.

Eight months after the events of CIVIL WAR, Peter Parker is biding his time as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man while waiting for the call from Tony Stark to join The Avengers. Meanwhile, some low-level bad guys become arms dealers selling Chitauri tech-based weaponry. After thwarting an gun deal, Spider-Man begins to get in a little over his head. After his first encounter with the Vulture, Parker is left for dead drowning in a pond. An Iron Man drone saves him, with Stark giving him a warning/advice to stick with catching bicycle thieves.

But like a good teenager, Parker doesn't take his advice and further investigates the arms dealers. After a incident putting innocent lives at stake, Tony Stark takes Spider-Man's suit away. After getting "grounded" Peter decides to focus on school and a social life. But now he's become too involved with the Vulture and his arms-deal operation. With power comes great responsibility, as Parker dons his old suit to thwart Vulture one last time.

Sony along with Marvel Studios really hit it out of the park with SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING. This time around nothing felt like a rewrite for SPIDER-MAN 4. And if it was there, I couldn't tell?

The cast is great! Tom Holland is now my favorite Peter Parker. He's brought something to the role that just captures the essence of the classic comic book character. By the time they reboot the franchise again I'll be too old to care, so I'm happy they finally got Spidey perfect!

Michael Keaton was great as always! Fans are saying he might be the best MCU villain since Loki, and I couldn't agree more! Keaton brings this blue collar attitude to the character that instantly identifiable with audiences. His origin I sympathized with and felt sorry for him and his crew. That's the making of a good antagonist when you feel/understand their motives. Keaton's performance might be my favorite thing in the film!

Another home run for me was the high school setting and Parker's classmates. I'm 40 years old so it's been a little while since I've seen a film set in school that I identify with. I don't want to spoil all the cool/funny moments, but director Jon Watts captured being a high schooler pretty perfectly.

In conclusion, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING got me pumped for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR! Only two more films before that one! Trust me, it'll be here before we know it. As for HOMECOMING sequels, I think the future installments are in good hands! What I don't trust is all the Spidey-verse spin-offs Sony has planed? So far things aren't sounding that great. Shouldn't Amy Pascal be fired by now?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

THE BIG SICK

Out of the 9 years I have been writing on the blog I maybe have reviewed only 3 or 4 Romantic Comedies? It's not that I don't like the genre, it's mostly because the movies themselves aren't worth writing about, let alone seeing? And let's face it, the Romantic Comedy genre has been bad for awhile. For the life of me I cannot remember the last good one I've seen?

Action and Horror films will always be my favorite, but I have a soft spot for Romantic Comedies. For years I have written numerous ideas for movies and have started but never finished a handful of scripts. All of them have been coming of age, tough guy, and horror stories. The most repeated constructive criticism I get from friends/peers is that I should write comedies. They are probably right, and I have enough 'real life' stories to make a pretty funny (or desperately pathetic) Romantic Comedy!

When I first heard about THE BIG SICK all I knew was that it stared on of the the guys from that SILICON VALLEY show and was produced by Judd Apatow. It was only after the five times (my fault) that I saw the films trailer going to Alamo Drafthouse, that I knew what the film was about. I wanted to see the film immediately at first, but then backtracked into waiting to rent it or catch on some streaming service. It's a good thing I decided to watch it in the theater because I love THE BIG SICK!

THE BIG SICK is co-written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, and it's directed by Michael Showalter. The film is loosely based on the true story of how Kmuail and Emily met and fell in love. In a brilliant move, Kmuail stars in the movie as himself. I wish Emily was in the film as well, but I'm sure there was reason why? However, the actress that plays Emily in the film was great. Before the film started there was a pre-show that had a interview with Emily V. Gordon, and after watching the film I think Zoe Kazan was a bit of perfect casting.

Without giving away too many spoilers, Kmuail is a struggling comedian who meets Emily after one of his sets. They hook up and eventually become a couple. Things start to become pretty serious, but unlike Emily, Kmuail hasn't told his parents about his new girlfriend yet. The reason is because of arranged marriage in his culture. This sparks a huge argument between the two and they break up.

A week or two later Emily gets real sick and Kmuail is the only one available to make a life or death decision. Emily is put in a medical induced coma to help fight a rare lung infection. Her out-of-town parents show up and back handedly thank Kmuail for everything he has done. Still in love with her, Kmuail keeps visiting the hospital despite Emily's parents feelings. Eventually the three of them start getting along with one another, helping the worry that a loved one and daughter are in the hospital.

Going into the third act of the film is a big spoiler so I'll stop right here.

It's rare that a Romantic Comedy gets any Oscar attention but you can believe me when I tell you that this film should at least get three nominations: One for Best Original Screenplay, the other one for Best Supporting Actress Holly Hunter, and this one might be a long shot but Ray Romano for Best Supporting Actor!

THE BIG SICK is a comedy but there is some serious drama going on and all the actors in this film knock it out of the park!

There are two scenes in the film that are my favorite: After a terrible decision of Emily's parents seeing one of Kmuail's stand-up sets, the three go back to Emily's apartment and bond. It's really touching. The second one is during a pretty dramatic family decision in the ICU waiting room. Holly and Ray bring it in this scene/moment.

To be honest, I was shocked by how much I liked this film. The main reason I decided to see it was because the film was directed by Michael Showalter. I have been a fan of his since the skit show THE STATE. I'm not going to say that this movie could have been directed by anybody, but it feels like Showalter took a backseat on this thing and just let the script come to life. This is not a complaint but rather a complement. I'd be interested in listening to a director's commentary to see what touches he added to Kmuail's and Emily's love story!

I highly, highly recommend THE BIG SICK!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

THE BAD BATCH

If IT COMES AT NIGHT was best described as THE WALKING DEAD without zombies, then THE BAD BATCH is MAD MAX: FURY ROAD and/or ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK without the high-octane action or President held for ransom. There's another movie I was reminded of but can't remember, I really need to write these reviews immediately after I watch them?

THE BAD BATCH is a post-apocalyptic film from visionary filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour. This is her second feature (as far as I know) and follow up to the critical acclaimed A GRIL WALKS HOME AT NIGHT. A film that is now on my list to watch!

When I first heard about THE BAD BATCH I quickly dismissed it as a VOD title, something I'd possibly catch on Netflix in the future. Then I saw on Facebook that Tim League (co-founder of Alamo Drafthouse) was distributing it under his company NEON. They released a film called COLOSSAL earlier in the year which I loved, so now I definitely was going to watch THE BAD BATCH!

For a film like THE BAD BATCH, one would typically have to see it on VOD at home. But, I was one of the fortunate few to see the film on a big screen. My city has an Alamo Drafthouse (brand new) and they specialize in showing independent films like THE BAD BATCH. Unfortunately, the audience for independent films is pretty slim in Springfield, MO. I think there were only 8 - 10 people in the theater watching it with me? The film only played a little over a week I think?

The Alamo has only been open about a month and is only operating half of their theaters, the end of July all 14 auditoriums will be running. Maybe then they play more independent films?

Much like IT COMES AT NIGHT, we're not given much explanation as to what's going on in THE BAD BATCH. Through some visuals we can see that the Bad Batch are branded and escorted to some sort of penal colony. Similar to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK but instead of a city, the Batch are dropped off in a desert wasteland. My guess is somewhere in Texas?

In the film we follow Arlen, who is brand new to this "prison". Almost immediately Arlen is attack by two hulking brutes in a golf cart. She wakes up to the terror that she has been captured by cannibals! Missing an arm and a leg, Arlen survives only to be food saved for later. Knowing her doom, Arlen successfully escapes the cannibals but passes out from the desert heat and is saved by mysterious drifter.

Five months later and Arlen is (almost) fully healed and residing in a town called Comfort. There is nothing special or peculiar (yet) about Comfort, it's a typical post-apocalyptic town. These scenes reminded of the video game FALLOUT 3 a little bit?

Feeling adventurous, Arlen goes outside of Comfort for a little bit of exploring. On her adventure she spots a golf cart and ends up killing a cannibal. In a heartbreaking moment (for me at least) the cannibal was a mother to a young child. The child follows Arlen back to Comfort.

Arlen is in for some big trouble when come to find out that the little girls father is a man named Miami Man, and is a bad ass!

Back in Comfort we finally meet the man who runs Comfort, The Dream. This is where the movie gets weird (in a good way) and becomes even more existential than it already was. In a nutshell, The Dream (played awesomely by Keanu Reeves) tells the town that key to comfort and the dream lies within. I don't remember exactly if that's what he said, I do know it's close enough.

The kid wanders off and runs into The Dream and his many wives. Arlen who seems like she doesn't want anything to do with Comfort or The Dream, leaves town. In the wasteland she runs into Miami Man who demands her daughter back or else!

This should be the moment that THE BAD BATCH is really good, but nothing ever really exciting happens. I wasn't expecting some big shoot out or action scene reminiscent of ROAD WARRIOR? There were even a few moments that I got bored. Arlen repeatedly leaving Comfort started to get on my nerves. With that being said, I kept getting sucked into the movie because of it's cultish appeal. It felt as if I was watching a lost cult classic from the Eighties?

In conclusion, I feel that I can only recommend THE BAD BATCH to movie buffs.

IT COMES AT NIGHT

For those that have seen Trey Edward Shults' IT COMES AT NIGHT, the question on all of our minds is, what exactly comes at night? Shults deliberately left in open to interpretation and has said that the title is a metaphor. I'm sure there are some who have seen the film have an exact idea what comes at night? Myself, I have no clue? My simple guess is nightmares, nightmares are the things that come at night.

This film has been getting a lot of praise among critics. The reaction is opposite with general audiences. The very same thing happened with last years THE WITCH. I haven't seen the film since the theater, but I liked THE WITCH. Now with IT COMES AT NIGHT, I am somewhere in the middle? I didn't love it but I also didn't hate it.

The critical praise of IT COMES AT NIGHT is a little overhyped in my opinion. In a nutshell, most critics like it because it arty. The director is a big fan of Kubrick, and it shows. Also, the 'less is more' approach is a big hit among the critics who love the movie.

In a multiplex full of studio driven movies with big stars, special effects, and boring exposition dialogue IT COMES AT NIGHT is a breath of fresh air! However, Trey Edward Shults went a little too carried away with 'less is more'.

The most simple way for me to describe IT COMES AT NIGHT is to label it as THE WALKING DEAD without zombies.

The film opens with a family killing one of their own because of some kind of disease. It is here that the movie is it's strongest. With little to no dialogue we're given information to move the plot along. I don't need some character or some voice-over telling me how or when the disease started.

The main character in the film is Travis, and it's his grandpa that they put down. He starts to have nightmares, and possibly insomnia. He probably doesn't sleep because of the nightmares?

In the middle of the night someone tries to break in their house. Paul, the father of the house drags the intruder outside and ties him to a tree. After a day of interrogation, Paul and the man whose name is Will make a deal. On the way to get Will's family the two are bushwhacked by two gunmen. This was my favorite scene in the film! I was on the edge of my seat thinking these guys are partners with Will. We never find out who they are or why they were out there because Paul kills them pretty quickly.

So now Will and his family move in and things go smoothly. This is right around the time I started thinking THE WALKING DEAD without zombies.

It's during a late afternoon of chopping wood that things start to get bad. Travis's dog sees something in the woods and goes after it. Paul refuses to have Travis chase after the dog. To avoid specific spoilers I'll just tell to the dog comes back a bloody mess. We're not told who brought him to the house/opened the door? People may or may not have been infected, and the psychological terror really amps up here!

At the time of writing this blog post/review, I really feel it's necessary to watch IT COMES AT NIGHT again? The aspects of the film that I wanted to heavily criticize I may actually like now that I think about it? Maybe the film is a brilliant slice of psychological terror!

In conclusion, I don't see IT COMES AT NIGHT making the list of my favorite films of the year, but I definitely want to check it out again.