Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The Dead Don't Produce Good Movies

It sounds good. A zombie movie that is meta aware and by a director that's done good work...

In a small town, strange events start to happen (daylight continues too long, pets disappear) and then zombies happen. The sheriff and his deputies realise what's going on and... yeah, zombies. Others encounter zombies and, yeah... zombies. Hey look, we got zombies y'all!

Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits... it sounds good. However... the movie doesn't really do anything with it. There are some meta moments where Adam Driver knows that the song that's playing is the theme song of the movie, and he's read the script, but... then it just becomes weird (as such). And the point? I'm not sure. Tom Waits does a long monologue at the end, trying to tie zombies into consumerism and just hanging around getting stuff, but it's just a thing that happens in the movie, rather than anything that drives anything in the movie or provides a great explanation for what is going on or anything.

This should have been better, but just ends up a damp squib of a movie.


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Saturday, 14 September 2019

Gotta get out!

So while I was in Christchurch we had a different Team Activity... in that we had to escape!

This is one of them escape rooms, but the goal itself wasn't to escape. We did the Lost Hut of Antarctica, of which the point was to get the legacy item, not open the door. (And, actually, the door was always open because of health and safety, so this worked better in the fiction.) And this particular room only had a 40% success rate.

Inside, we were faced with quite a few puzzles (of which I'm not going to discuss, because spoilers), and spent a fair bit in the dark at times so don't do this room if you don't want to be stuck in a dark room. And we needed all of us to help get through those puzzles. Yes, okay, I am quite smart and able to get things working that others couldn't... but then there were things I completely missed that others picked up. It really was a team activity!

There was one moment were we needed some help because we were completely using an item wrong... and amusingly, I then used that same item later to sequence break the puzzles, and the person in charge had to come in, take that item away, and reset the puzzle! Whoops!

But ultimately, we had one hour in which to crack the room, and quite a number of different puzzles to go through. (One particular puzzle was a Simon Says game. I did the first round and then... that was all I needed! I'm a gamer, dammit! Where's the other two rounds these games always have?) There's an iPad in the room and you can see the timer tick down...

49 minutes, and we did it. We Did It! Item found!


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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Eeeet Again

Fortunately Chapter One was on Netflix, so I was easily set for Chapter Two.

At this point, I'm not sure I need to go into the basic plot. There have been tons to internet reviews of the mini series and such, and the basic concept of "the adult return to deal with Pennywise" is what we have. So all that is left is the details.

There are three parts to this movie. The part where the adults talk about how they need to deal with Pennywise. The part where Pennywise scares the adults. And the part where Pennywise scares the kids. Because there is still a lot of the kids in this, in all new scenes where Pennywise attacks them. So much so, you could believe this was cut scenes from the first movie they added into this movie. And then by and large a lot of the scenes are just repeated with the adults.

Is this making it seem like I'm sounding unimpressed? It's not so much that as it is that this didn't really blow me away. We had a good set up in Chapter One, but this doesn't really add anything to it. Heck, they even revert one of the plot reveals in the first movie just so they can have it again in this movie!

But is the ending any better? They certainly have enough people comment to the writer character (aka the Stephen King stand-in) that the book endings suck, so that point is certainly hammered home that the book and the tv series had that issue. I can't really say that this one is better. It fits a bit better into the theme of the movie, but doesn't really feel that amazing.

And as for the chance of a Chapter Three, or even a Chapter Zero. I'm sure someone will pull something out if they decide there's more to be made from this.


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Monday, 9 September 2019


Oh, now this is a classic, but here's a question... aside from that shower scene, what happens in this movie? Let's find out in Psycho!

Marion isn't entirely happy in her life, so when $40,000 is dumped in her lap, she takes it and runs. Unfortunately, she runs to Bates Motel, and Mother Bates disapproves of her. Because people are looking for the money, a detective arrives and Mother Bates again proves to be quite a figure. However, her sister and boyfriend then come along, and capture the scourge that is the Mother Bates tyranny!

The famous murder that we all know (and some people think had coloured blood) is about half way through the movie, so what is the rest of it? Norman cleans up, and the investigation into Marion's death. Which is very well paced and even knowing the secret this movie still keeps up the tension.

Although speaking of Marion, I do wonder if we are supposed to want to see her killed? The movie opens with her having sex before marriage and then she steals money. You can't let criminals get away with it, so we have her punished for her sins by Mother Bates. This might seem like an extreme reading of the movie, but having watched Vertigo, I'm not exactly going for leniency for Hitchcock here.

Aside from that interpretation, this movie still holds up, and no-one ever needs to even think about remaking it...


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Wednesday, 4 September 2019

El Times at the Bade Royal

Oh hey... this is a Quentin Tarantino movie that is better than some Quentin Tarantino movies!

A group of characters happen to turn up at the hotel El Royale, each there for different reasons. But their paths become entwined as secrets come to light until we hit full Charles Manson standin.

This is one of those movies that revolves around characters more than a driving plot. And the characters are interesting enough that I quite enjoyed them even as this movie jumped around various storylines.

Jeff Bridges and Cynthia Erivo get the meat of the performances and a good job they do too.

To be honest, I don't have much to say. It's a decent movie, worth the watching!


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Monday, 2 September 2019


Whoops behind on these already. This is that classic, Can't Go Up A Staircase Man! Also known as Vertigo.

John suffers a Defining Moment at the beginning of the movie and gets a bad case of vertigo. While he can't be a police officer any more, his buddy Gavin hires him to look after his wife, who is have strange moments. John follows her as she visits an old grave, sees a painting, and falls into the ocean. And then he ends up falling in love with her, so takes it rather badly when she plummets from the top of a tower. Fortunately, he manages to spot her lookalife, and plays dressup with her and then eventually hounds her into falling from the same tower. What a guy!

Judy Barton is a really shit on character here. First she gets complicit in the death of another woman, while falling in love with John, but then has to give into John's whims before being killed herself. Not that the movie is saying she deserves it, but man are we forever on John's side for all this. But he can't take 'no' for an answer, and she's in love, but she's the one who ends up dying. We don't see what happens to John, the movie just ends there, but he already has Midge caring for him, so I can't say that I care too much about him.

Which all says a lot about Hitchcock's movie making in that I am caring more about Judy? On the other hand, screw this male perspective movie.


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Wednesday, 28 August 2019


One of those movies I should have been earlier. And hey, a Spike Lee Joint!

Ron Stallworth joins the police, an unusual event at the time as he is a black man and the police were (and still are in lots of places) racist. Then he decides to join the Klan, as you do, and so we follow him and his compatriot Flip Zimmerman as they infiltrate the Klan and try to stop them from committing crimes.

While this movie is good, I am now interested in seeing how the book handles this, as I'm sure there is a lot more nuance that you can convey in a two hour movie. Certainly there isn't a lot of subtlety in this movie, and Spike goes out of his way at the end to make sure you really get the point. Which is still true and ongoingly so.

John David Washington and Adam Driver are good in the main roles, and I'm surprised by how committed the klans actors are. They aren't trying to be sympathetic, but they do come across as real.

A movie I'm glad I caught up with!


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