‘Housebound’ Trailer

The last movie I reviewed, Calvary, was a pretty good film, despite a lack of balance between dramatic and comedy elements.  I mention it because I think that I found a movie that gets it right.  Gerald Johnstone‘s Housebound revolves around a woman (the aptly named Morgana O’Reilly) as Kylie Bucknell, the partner of a not-too-competent criminal who’s caught while failing to rob an ATM.

I assume that she’s considered to be be just an accomplice, a first offense, or perhaps she’s underage because instead of going to prison she has to stay with her mother in the boonies, and wear one of those electronic anklets that inform the police if she leaves the residence.

And Kylie hates living with her mum, who appears a bit daft, though it appears that that’s the least of her problems.  The house seems to be haunted (her parents, for whatever reason, didn’t pick up on the signs, such as lights that go on and off for no apparent reason, doors that open without the presence of a draft or a person on the other side, etc) by a ghost with murderous intent.

As I said, it looks like fun because it’s all about balancing the humor with the horror.

‘Calvary’ Review

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 4.20.12 PM

John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary had a preview showing in Washington, DC, where the director as well as Brendan Glesson discussed not only what they were trying to do with the film, but the broader landscape that it existed in.

Interview

A discussion with John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson

There was a period for questions from the audience as well, which made for a pretty interesting evening.  It also had an (unfortunate) effect of highlighting what McDonagh was trying to do with Calvary, and was only occasionally successful at.

Which I will get into momentarily.

Brendan Gleeson plays Father James Lavelle, a Catholic priest in Ireland, who’s faith was his sword and shield in a world where he now serves as little more than a person of interest, of curiosity.  It’s an attitude that he contributes to, and seeming cultivates, seeing that he wears traditional Catholic vestment on virtually all occasions.

His clothing harkened back to a time when a Catholic priest was believed to virtually of unimpeachable morality, before the seemingly rampant pedophilia in the Church stained the reputations of all that promoted its teachings.

As you can probably tell, Calvary is a pretty serious film; and if that were it’s only goal, it could be called nothing less than a rousing success.

But McDonagh is more ambitious that than, which in this particular instance is problematic because Calvary also wants to be a comedy–admittedly of the very dark variety–and comes up short.

The problem is that the subject matter is so serious, so loaded with pathos, that the comedy has to be bold as well, and for the most part, it isn’t.  Though there is one moment, when Father Lavelle has a potentially violent encounter with Dr. Frank Hart (Aidan Gillen) that you could see where the film is trying to get to.

There are other instances and characters that are included for what I assume is primarily comedic effect, such as an altar boy, which works, and an odd parishioner, which doesn’t and brings to mind the two murdered twins from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining more than anything else.

And the movie needed more humor because it’s not an easy film, and it’s inclusion would have gone a long way toward justifying the ending, which is more Mel Gibsonesque that I would have expected.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Comic-Con Trailer

Originally I was going to open things up with the trailer for 50 Shades of Gray, but let’s be honest:  I don’t care about that movie, and if you’re reading this blog you probably don’t either.  And not that anyone asked, but–since I am being honest–the best thing that could have happened to Charlie Hunnam was leaving what looks to me potentially like a train wreck.

Based on his answers to the interviewer’s questions Hunnam should be in politics because few actors are so effortlessly self-effacting and diplomatic.

So, instead here’s the trailer for George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” from Comic-Con 2014, where the bondage is less about eroticism and more about…bondage.

‘Tusk’ Trailer

Tusk comes courtesy of Kevin Smith, a director that I find more interesting as a media personality than as a director.  The last film of his I saw, Red State, I recall being disappointed over because it advertised itself as one thing–a horror film–when it was actually quite another–essentially a thriller about religious zealots.

His most recent effort appears to be vaguely similar to Stephen King’s Misery, in that someone (Justin Long) is held captive by a nutcase, though in this case it seems that the protagonist is less interested in breaking bones than changing the very form of his captive.

Into a walrus, by surgical means, if the trailer is at all accurate.

Looks like fun.

‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ Red Band Trailer

You don’t watch a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine expecting any sort of high-brow humor–and if you did it’s all on you because there wasn’t any be found–but what you did get was three actors thrown in the pretty bizarre situation, and their idiosyncratic ways of coping and adapting.

When you think about it, it could actually be the Citizen Kane of hot tub time machine movies.

The first time around apparently appealed to more people than just me, because Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke, which can’t be the name he was born with) are back in Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

This time around it seems that the guys have, predictably, fraked up the future.  This really bothers someone (whom I am willing to bet is either Nick or Jacob), who then attempts to kill Lou.  Nick and Jacob get Lou back into the time machine, and attempt to stop the would-be killer.

It goes without saying that they bring their own special brand of incompetence to the proceedings.

‘Patrick’ Review

Patrick: Evil Awakens

Some Memories, And Coma Patients, Are Best Left Alone

Mark Hartley‘s Patrick, is currently on Netflix, and is surprisingly a engaging little horror film (before it jumps the rails, that is).  I was expecting something silly, on the level of an Asylum feature, it was actually pretty engaging, before the aforementioned rail jumping.

Charles Dance brought a much needed sense of dread and gravitas to things, and he reminded me somewhat of Peter Cushing of Christopher Lee, both of whom possessed the ability to make sub-par material at least interesting.

Unfortunately, no one–other than the writers, or maybe Edward Norton–can do anything to make a silly story less so, or help a movie regain the goodwill its lost (misplaced somewhere around the half-way mark).

Events unfold place almost entirely in a moody villa that houses the Roget Clinic, where Doctor Roget (Dance) experiments on his patients, assisted by his daughter, Matron Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths).

As of late the doctor seems particularly preoccupied by Patrick (Jackson Gallagher), whom was somehow put in a comatose state after murdering his mother and her lover.

Roget is particularly fond of electroshock therapy, as well as a drug that will look eerily familiar to anyone that’s seen Re-Animator.  If he’s able to bring Patrick out of his coma, it will prove that his theories are correct, and enable him to regain the fame and notoriety he once had before a fall from grace (something involving illegal experiments probably similar to those he’s currently performing, I’d guess).

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‘The Gallery of Horrors Bundle’ StoryBundle

Gallery of Horrors Bundle

Ripping a still-beating heart from the chest cavity that shelters it, as the blood washes all over you in a warm, red fountain.  It runs in rivulets, like miniature water falls, down your face; some even winds its way toward your open mouth.

The penny-copper tastes coats your tongue before making its way down your throat.  At first you double over, gaging for a moment before feelings of revulsion are soon replaced by a sated feeling that–before now–you’ve been entirely unacquainted with.

If reading about such terrors is your idea of entertainment–it’s definitely mine–then The Gallery of Horrors Bundle is for you.

The books are offered by StoryBundle, and contains six books by writers such as Martin Kee, Brent J. Tally, and Tanya Eby.

Now here’s the cool part.  If you pay more than $12 for the Bundle, you get three bonus books:  Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig, I, Zombie by Hugh Howie and The Red Church by Scott Nicholson.

I can’t speak for everyone, but the scariest thing that I can think of would be to let such an awesome bundle of eBooks (readable in iBooks–my preference–or Kindle, Kobo or any other reader that accepts .epub or .mobi files) go away.