Postmortem – Kristy (2014)

Screenshot 2016-02-24 22.01.43Olly Blackburn’s Kristy is one of the better home invasion thrillers, except in this instance the ‘home’ in question is an entire college campus, empty but for a skeleton staff and Justine (Haley Bennett), who’s planning on staying on campus over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Unfortunately for Justine and everyone else, a cult of religious zealots have targeted Justine in the belief that by killing as many Kristy’s as they can–the name apparently means ‘follower of Christ,’–that somehow they’re killing God (as far as motivations go it’s a bit nutty, but then again taking up serial killing pretty much implies that you’re a few cans short of a six-pack anyway).

You also probably noticed that ‘Justine’ isn’t the same name as ‘Kristy,’ though that’s actually a brilliant detail on writer Anthony Jaswinski’s part in that they’re targeting women not because of their name more than them fitting a certain archetype that works with the cultist’s delusion.

That her name isn’t Kristy is irrelevant (to the victim), which is a pretty smart touch.

Though not everything about the movie is so clever, especially when it shows the tendency of the filmmakers to create unrealistic situations that exist only to bring about a certain outcome, as opposed to feeling organic.

In the scene in question, Justine/Kristy is on the run from the killers–they have already dispatched the two security guards on campus–and she manages to reach the house of the groundskeeper.

Now here’s when things go (mildly) awry.  The groundskeeper not only has a huge rotweiler, but also a shotgun, while the killers just have an assortment of bladed weapons (axes, knives, etc).

It’s worth mentioning that there are at least four of them, but by my math a huge dog and a shotgun more than even up the odds.

And speaking of the dog, this thing probably weighs somewhere in the ballpark of 50-60 pounds; the point being, that’s a lot of pissed-off animal to dispatch with just a knife.

And I’m calling bs on that.  I am not saying that they weren’t capable of killing it, what I am saying is that there’s little chance that at least one of the four wouldn’t have been mauled before it happened.

Then there’s the matter of dispatching the groundskeeper.  When his dog runs outside, he sees something, and fires.  Someone then grabs the barrel of the shotgun from the side, and pulls him with it.

The next time we see the groundskeeper, he’s being hung from a children’s swing.  Now, why there was even a children’s swing there in the first place–they’re not too common on college campuses–but that he was disarmed seemingly with such ease in the first place is also a tad unbelievable.

Though those are relatively minor quibble, ones which most people will probably not let get in the way of their enjoyment of a clever home invasion thriller.

I Agree With Albert Ching, But For Different Reasons

Screenshot 2015-12-09 21.58.14.pngYesterday I read an interesting article from Albert Ching, Managing Editor at Comic Book Resources, where he explains why he hopes that the actor cast as Iron Fist in Marvel Television/Netflix’s upcoming series isn’t Asian.

And I think that I get it why an Asian person might have a problem with an Asian person as the lead in a martial arts series–after all, what a viewer could potentially take from it is that all Asian people have to offer is their kung-fu ability.

Which is  is similar to the way Asian peoples are supposedly all good in math; that’s a pretty insidious one.

And I agree with Ching, though not for the same reasons (though I have to admit that Asian people in most movies virtually all being ninjas makes sense to me, which is exactly the problem he was talking about).

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Can We Can The (Seemingly) Fake Diversity Talking Points Already?

David GoyerI am all for diversity, whether we’re talking about movies or just about anything else (especially policing, which is another discussion) but I get a bit tired of the people that have the ability to make a difference, and don’t, complaining about its absence.

For instance, David Goyer, the writer of screenplays for Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy (Batman BeginsThe Dark Knight, The Dark Night Rises, recently said in a recent interview that he wished that Hollywood would hire more women and people of color.

Seriously?  The problem with that is that statement is that people like David Goyer ARE Hollywood.  Keep in mind that this is the same guy that recently created DaVinci’s Demons, a series loosely based on the life of Renaissance man Leonardo DaVinci.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen the series, but if that’s how he feels, why not hire–I don’t know–women and people of color to direct (it’s entirely possible he’s done just that, but if that were the case for some reason I suspect that he wouldn’t be quite so reticent about discussing it) as well as work on the crew?

I also have no idea about how Kurt Sutter (the creator of Sons of Anarchy and The Bastard Executioner) feels about such things, but considering that Paris Barclay directed more episodes of Anarchy than any other director (and who happens to be black) I get the feeling that his track record on such things is probably pretty good–which isn’t to imply any sort of perfection.  Women and people of color and do any task that a movie requires.

Back to Goyer.  Looking at the credits for DaVinci’s Demons, there appears to be no female directors or–if the names are any indication, since pictures don’t accompany every IMDB entry–directors of color.  As far as the show’s writing staff goes, things are a slightly better for women, with six out of twenty being female.

David Goyer apparently cares about diversity, and making use of the talents and the perspectives that only women and people of color can provide.

And that’s admirable, though the next step is to actually hire them, which is where ‘diversity’ really comes into play.

Where Are The Adaptations Of Octavia Butler’s Work?

Parable Of The SowerFrom the time that I could read, science fiction and fantasy were my mediums of choice.  (Horror–with a vengeance–came later).

From Edmund Cooper (The Overman Culture–the first book I am aware of reading with a gay protagonist–, Seahorse In The Sky) to Ursula K. LeGuin (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Earthsea novels, etc) and a lot in-between; I’ve always been an avid reader.

Which is why when they were making movies based on young adult novels like The Hunger Games, it gave me hope that a lot of the books that I lost myself in as a young person would come full circle to entertain me as an adult by being made into movies and television shows.

This has happened with Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes, as well as many other writers like LeGuin and Stephanie Meyer (who’s work I have never read).

Though I’ve come to notice something, namely that there isn’t any representation of African-American science fiction writers.  And I’ll be honest, I am only aware of one, and that’s Octavia Butler.  But what a writer she is!  Before her death in 2006 she had won numerous awards for her writing, but that’s less important that her work is really, really good.

I have read the books that comprise her Zenogenesis Saga (Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago) as well as her Patternist series, which are some of the best science fiction I have ever read–what I found a bit odd, and somewhat disappointing, to tell you the truth, was that Joe Haldeman’s Camouflage covered similar territory, though not nearly as well.

The legacy, the novels that she’s left behind are still with us though as far as I know no one is talking about adapting them for either movies or television.

And that’s a shame, because her writing is not only as good, but perhaps better than a lot of the stuff that has been adapted so far, but her work has this weird, alien quality that’s unlike anything that we have seen to this point.

Though I get the feeling that a lot of Hollywood thinks as Matt Damon apparently does, namely that a diversity of voices is okay as long as they don’t have anything do with writing or they’re not behind the camera.

What Is Going On With Ridley Scott And Prometheus?

Color me confused, but what’s going on with Ridley Scott and Prometheus?  As far as I could tell, he did all he could to distance the movie from Alienthe original screenplay by Jon Spaihts was called Alien: Engineers (click on the link to read) was firmly entrenched in the Alien universe, while the re-write by Damon Lindelhof was significantly less so in that it involved the personalities and architecture of Alien without actual Aliens (the photo-Alien at the end not withstanding).

So imagine my surprise when I saw this (courtesy of Comicbookmovie.com):

Alien: Paradise Lost.

From seeming not interesting in playing in the Alien sandbox, to diving in up to his neck, I am not sure if this is a good thing for the franchise.  Visually, Scott is a very talented director–with perhaps one of the most distinctive visual styles today–but this odd indecisiveness (I know of nothing else to call it) is a bit disturbing.

Why You Should Be Watching “United States Of Tara” On Netflix

Part of what makes Netflix (and services like Hulu) so awesome is that whenever you see a series, no matter when it was actually released, it’s new to you.

Having recently watched Keir Gilchrist in Dark Summer I was impressed enough with his performance to seek out more of his work, so when I learned that he also starred in Showtime’s United States of Tara I decided to give it a watch.

And it’s a surprisingly entertaining show–though that may have a little to with me binging on it.

And the first thing that came to mind is that United States of Tara initially feels like a Weeds clone (which aired on HBO), down to the opening and theme song, while different, plays visually and aurally similar to Little Boxes.

Little Boxes

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Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension – Trailer

Let’s be honest.  The Paranormal Activity movies are pretty bad.  Sure, they vary where they sit on the suckometer, but what’s a given is the suckage. And i know that I maybe should be more grateful that horror movies are getting their due, but making really bad ones aren’t, in the long run, helping anyone because people are just going to stop paying to see them–or pirate them, which is worse in its way. I mean, I PAID to see Ouija, and felt a bit violated (though the sequel is being written by Mike Flanagan, who did the far better Oculus, so I might take a chance on it. The bastards) and for most people, unlike me apparently, it’s “trick me once, shame on me.  Trick me twice, same on you.”