Mom and Dad – Official Trailer

A lot of people seem to take a perverse joy in watching Nicholas Cage overacting style of acting, but it typically it doesn’t move me.

Though what’s worse is that it feels to me Cage is being mocked, which is sad becaus he clearly trusts in his directors enough that he’s willing to swing for the bleachers.

Or maybe it’s just a part of his shtick and he does if because that’s what he wants to believe people have come to see.

In any case, Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad feels vaguely like M. Night Shymalan’s The Visit combined with George Romero’s TheW Crazies, where for unknown reasons–though likely due to an oddly specific virus–parents try to kill their children.

Let the hilarity begin!

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Three Things To Consider For An Unbreakable Sequel To Work

While it’s good news that M. Night Shyamalan is finally getting around to producing a sequel to his Bruce Willis/Sam Jackson-led Unbreakable, three problems in particular come to mind. 

1.  The original Unbreakable came out 17 years ago.

The point being that a lot of people aren’t going to get fired up for a sequel to a movie that came out before they were born. This is why Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson must reprise their roles.  The two leads returning will help to bridge not only the gap in people’s minds, but  the very real gap between the original and the sequel. 

Could the movie work without Willis and Jackson?  Maybe, though why take the chance?  After all, many believe that one reason in particular  Independence Day: Resurgence tanked (which is perhaps too strong a word for a movie that earned almost $390 million worldwide) was because Will Smith did not return to the role that catapulted him to A-list stardom.   

2. Will we be seeing the ‘Blumhouse’ Shyamalan, or the ‘Lady In The Water’ Shyamalan?

I could have written the ‘AfterEarth’ Shyamalan, though the meaning would have been the same, namely I’m talking about the period of time when Shyamalan was seemingly driven more by ego than creativity, and it showed in vanity projects like Lady In The Water,  AfterEarth and The Last Airbender. 

While the ‘Blumhouse Shyamalan, ’ where the resurgence of his career began with movies like The Visit and Split

Lean, relatively small-budgeted features (pretty much the only type of movies Blumhouse Pictures makes), managed to reign in Shyamalan’s excesses though I suspect he won’t have a Jason Blum to keep an eye on things for an Unbreakable 2.

Though considering we’re talking about Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson, I suspect that neither will come cheap. 

3. How will Unbreakable 2 differentiate itself from all the other superhero movies?

When Unbreakable came out the idea of superhero films was relatively uncommon, which is why the original could work as a superhero film despite being relatively action-free.  Such an approach would likely not work today, so how can Shyamalan create a drastically different-looking superhero story, while not drifting too far afield of what made the original so engrossing and worthy of revisiting is a question worth pondering. 

If Shyamalan can address these three points, it by no means guarantees that Unbreakable 2 will be a success, though what it does mean is that it will likely find a receptive audience, one way or another.  

Goodnight Mommy – Review

Screenshot 2016-01-09 23.55.39.pngGoodnight Mommy won the award for European Cinematographer in 2015 at the 28th annual European Film Awards and is also Austria’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the 2016 Academy Awards.

The only problem with that whole Academy Award thing is Serverin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s film is a horror movie, and when do horror movies win Academy Awards?

(The answer is actually ten, which I found pleasantly surprising)

It’s also entirely possible that  Goodnight Mommy could win another cinematography award, because it’s gorgeous and evocative of movies like The Shining, with lots of angles, empty spaces and spooky ambiance.

And twins.  Let’s not forget twins (who are always sort of creepy).

As a horror movie, it chugs along promisingly as twins Lukas and Elias (played by actual twins, Lukas and Elias Schwarz)’s mother returns from plastic surgery, and they’re almost immediately suspicious of who she is, and where their real mother is.

And there are some very valid reasons for the twins to be suspicious, and if the movie had continued along that track, it would have been really awesome.

Instead, about midway I began to wonder if Severin Fiala and Veronica Franz was a pseudonym for M. Night Shyamalan because there’s an entirely unnecessary twist thrown in that–while it doesn’t ruin the movie–does undermine a lot that came before (also because it’s something you’re going to at least suspect early on, and seen done much better).

 

Jessica Jones-A-Thon: AKA Take A Bloody Number

 

 

Jessica makes peace with Luke Cage, after he learns that Kilgrave isn’t a figment of her imagination.  We also get a little more information as to how Jones got her abilities.

And speaking of Cage, The more they show of him and his abilities, the more I want to see Iron Fist because as individuals they’re cool, though as a team they’re awesome.

I also don’t see how they can’t at least introduce Danny Rand during Cage’s own series (which is currently in production) because they are best friends and there’s groundwork to be laid if his appearance in his own series is to sync up with Cage’s.

The way Kilgrave gets people to kill themselves grows in grisliness (some vaguely remind me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, except scary).

Kilgrave is also attempting to boost his abilities, because Jessica is no longer under his sway.

The title, AKA Take A Bloody Number refers to the second thing Kilgrave told Luke Cage when he met him.

The Visit – Review

The Visit movie posterThe Visit is possibly the best M. Night Shyamalan movie since The Sixth Sense.

I’m serious.  It’s that good, though why don’t I start at the beginning.

When I first saw the trailer for The Visit I died just a little bit inside.  M. Night Shyamalan with The Sixth Sense showed such promise that when I saw his other movies, like The Village, Signs, The Happening–oh my god, The Happening!–I’ve pretty much accepted that all that promise, all that potential, was done (The Village and Signs weren’t so much bad than predictable though The Happening?  i’m getting a migraine just thinking about it).

And I mean the stick a ‘fork in his ass’ type of done.

I could see it now…two kids go to visit their grandparents, add a twist; grandparents end up being monsters, zombies, whatever, and movie ends.

But Shyamalan does something brilliant here, and the trailer is a part of it.  He crafts a movie experience (I hate when people call sitting on your ass watching a movie an ‘experience.’) that ends up being the most meta movie that I have ever seen because it’s not only about what you see on the surface.  It’s about Shyamalan himself, and how he has come to know that his shtick was growing a bit tired, so he changes it up in a BIG way.

I mean it.  There are few movies that I have seen this year that I have enjoyed as much.  It initially looks like what l we’ve come to expect from him, with the addition of a found footage element (which isn’t a good thing.  See: Area 51).

But once the awesomeness that’s The Visit comes up and slaps you upside the head, there’s no way that you can call it anything else but remarkable.

The movie takes your expectations and tells you to go fuck youself, because it’s going to do whatever it wants, and you’re going to sit there and like it.

And you know what?  I think you will because I know I did.

Dark Summer – Review

Dark Summer

“”Dark Summer” Isn’t The Season Horror Fans Are Waiting For (Though It’s Still Better Than “Ouija”).”

Watching Dark Summer you can tell that the filmmakers thought that they were onto something special, and I can understand why.

The movie has some beautiful cinematography and is shot and edited in a manner designed to heighten atmosphere and tension.

Keir Gilchrist plays Aaron, who when the movie begins is under house arrest for stalking a classmate.  He receives moral support from his best friends, Kevin (Maestro Harrell) and Abby (Stella Maeve), who may be better than he deserves.

An already difficult situation is made worse when the girl he’s accused of stalking kills herself.

Stokes (Peter Stomare) has the job of ensuring that Aaron doesn’t leave his house and always wears his monitoring anklet.

Stomare is always awesome, though we don’t see much of him (and I get it.  His was only a supporting role, though Peter Stomare so elevates everything he turns up in that it’s a shame that he didn’t get more screen time).

That being said, there are a few problems with Dark Summer that get in the way of it being the movie it could be.

One of which is that it isn’t particularly scary, which is odd because it’s pretty atmospheric.  It’s also really well-acted.  Typically actors sleepwalk through these types of movies, but everyone in this instance is really present.  In fact the entire cast makes the situation feel realistic enough that despite being patently silly, you roll with it.

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The Visit – Trailer

“Bedtime is at 9:30.  It’s probably best that you don’t come out of your room after that.”  

Oh yeah, nothing at all eerie about that.  No reason to suspect that something’s not quite right with Grandpa and Grandma.

When I heard that quote, taken verbatim from the trailer from M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming horror movie, The Visit, I got an odd feeling of deja vu, as if I have seen this movie before, and it wasn’t even that good then.

The Visit comes courtesy of Blumhouse Pictures, which means that it’s not only going to play–if the trailer is any indicator–like  a very well-shot home movie, but to make matters worse, it’s combined with Shyamalan’s typical over-estimation of his own writing prowess.

Which isn’t to say that he hasn’t had good movies.  The Sixth Sense was remarkable, and Unbreakable was pretty entertaining as well, though his others, not so much (mainly because Shyamalan can’t seem to make one without a ‘twist’ at the end, which more often than not was either pretty lame (Signs) or a ripoff of the The Twilight Zone (The Village), minus Rod Serling’s prose skills.

As a result, I get the feeling that The Visit will not overstay its welcome at the box office.