Ghostbusters fails to improve on the original

kate mckinnon gillian holtzmann ghostbusters

Over the summer I was pretty disgusted by so-called “men’s rights activists” or MRAs and their campaign against the new Ghostbusters film and specifically actress Leslie Jones.  This follows similar stupidity over Mad Max Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Racism (why is there a black storm trooper/Ghostbuster?) and misogyny (why is there a female imperator/Jedi/Ghostbuster?) are not valid forms of film criticism, and if they’re upset at Hollywood strip-mining its intellectual property for endless sequels and reboots, there are worse franchises out there.  Additionally, these dummies have missed one great film and one good filmsome even brag about the millions of dollars they’ve cost the BILLION dollar grossing The Force Awakens.  Unfortunately, despite some talented people involved, the new Ghostbusters is neither good nor great.

Continue reading Ghostbusters fails to improve on the original”

Amanda Knox is definitive but superficial

amanda knox

I never considered myself a true crime fan.  But in late 2014, I overheard my wife and mother-in-law talking about some podcast or other called Serial.  I gave it a try and was forever changed.  I was less fascinated with the crime aspect and more with trying to solve it.  Then we discovered Making a Murderer and The Staircase, and I was equally fascinated by the legal process.  Netflix’s new documentary Amanda Knox is very much in the same vein as these, but its scope is limited by its 90 minute runtime.

Continue reading Amanda Knox is definitive but superficial”

It Follows doesn’t quite know what to do with a killer premise

maika monroe jay it follows

Finally, two weeks into Shocktober, we get a straight-up horror movie (pun intended in the blog post title, by the way).  It Follows is a riff on classic horror films with a high concept twist, in this case that having sex with the wrong person can curse you.  Said curse takes the form of someone – maybe someone you know, maybe a complete stranger – that only you can see walking directly towards you.  If they touch you, you die.  If you have sex with someone else, you pass the curse on . . . unless they die, and then it’s back to you.  Writer/director David Robert Mitchell gets plenty of legit scares from this surprisingly creepy and effective gimmick, but It Follows simultaneously unpacks a bit too much to wrap up and yet repeats itself.

Continue reading It Follows doesn’t quite know what to do with a killer premise”

The Witch is as accurate as it is unsettling

the witch black phillip jonas mercy

This fall – inspired by the annual “Shocktober” theme at my favorite bad movie podcast – I proposed a program of horror movies to my wife.  I’m not really a horror fan at all, so I decided to stick to either classics or well-reviewed newer films to avoid torture porn, slasher films, and all the other things that have turned me off to the genre over the years.  The fact that I’m not a horror fan probably helped here, because The Witch is not your typical horror film.  Instead, it appears to have been custom made for me.

Continue reading The Witch is as accurate as it is unsettling”

You won’t learn much about Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future from its making-of documentary

out of the ashes captain power gary goddard

When I was a 12-year-old, I was obsessed with being cool.  Aside from standard late-80s pre-teen tastes – Arnold Schwarzenegger action films, Jessica Rabbit – most things I enjoyed were decidedly uncool: video games, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, and so on (as Jonah Hill says in 21 Jump Street, “If I was just born ten years later, I would have been the coolest person ever.”)  But probably the uncoolest thing I loved was a show called Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future.  It was ostensibly a kids’ show set in a dystopian future where robots hunt down surviving humans.  To this day I don’t know how a hyper-violent kids’ show that was basically the flashbacks in The Terminator got greenlit – and despite this was somehow still uncool to my middle school classmates – but  I loved it.

Continue reading “You won’t learn much about Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future from its making-of documentary”

Monsters, Inc. is still Pixar’s best film

sully monsters inc

When I saw Monsters, Inc. in its original theatrical run, it was just the fourth film from Pixar and only the sixth computer animated film ever made (Shrek had just been released a few months prior).  So I had no idea I was in the middle of Pixar’s incredible streak – but I loved it then and I love it now.  And as my daughter is getting old enough to sit still for a 90 minute movie, I figured the time was right to introduce her to what I still consider Pixar’s best film.  But knowing how fickle three-year-olds can be, I decided to “rent” rather than “buy” from iTunes.  That proved to be a good instinct.  Because as good as Monsters, Inc. is, it’s not exactly for three-year-olds.

Continue reading Monsters, Inc. is still Pixar’s best film”

I was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger award

sunshine blogger award

First the Liebster Award and now this?  This is awesome.  A few weeks ago Joel from Joel Watches Movies nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger award.  I really enjoy Joel’s reviews as they’re a quick way to either see if I’m going to like something he’s seen, or see if our tastes align (and they don’t always – he thinks The Empire Strikes back is overrated (!) while I feel the same about Goodfellas).

It’s pretty to cool to know that other people actually appreciate what you’re doing, rather than just click “follow” in hopes that you reciprocate (always a fear of mine).  I started this year with a resolution to take this blog more seriously, and things like this make me feel like I’m doing all right with that pledge.  Now for those unfamiliar with the Sunshine Blogger Award, it’s a way for bloggers to recognize their peers (and hopefully expose those peers to new followers).  Joel sent me 11 questions, so after answering them I get to pick 11 bloggers I enjoy and ask them 11 questions of my own.

Continue reading “I was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger award”