‘IT’ – Official Trailer #2

The latest trailer for Stephen King’s IT dropped a few hours ago, and the first thing I wondered when I saw if was if IT was also a part of the Stranger Things universe.

Both feature Finn Wolfhard, both revolve around a group of young people on the cusp of the adult world–and the secrets that it holds–facing bullies and their demons (both real and imagined).

And perhaps most importantly, both revolve around either the supernatural or things than can be easily interpreted as such (the Upsidedown from Stranger Things is approached in a more overtly scientific fashion than the terrors of IT but that’s less a question of the former not being supernatural than the approach to it being based in science).

Though the more likely explanation for the similarities is that Stranger Things is very much based on the work of Stephen King and movies of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter (particularly Carpenter, as far as the music and whole esthetic goes), so that it resembles a Stephen King movie is hardly a coincidence.

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Split – Trailer into Reaction

Split posterM. Night Shyamalan continues to have a very interesting career.

For awhile, he was by some considered the heir apparent” to Steven Spielberg, which is very rarified air.

And I can’t imagine that not going to his head a little bit, which probably has at least a little to do with Lady in the Water.

That being said, I thought you could see a decline in his powers with movies like Signs and The Village, despite both of those movies being very profitable and well-received–for he most part–by critics.

Though it was with the followups, Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth that his creative bankruptcy became apparent.

It’s also no coincidence all four underwhelmed at the box office as well.

Though Shyamalan continued to work, producing movies like Devil and working in television.

He came back to the cineplex in 2015 with The Visit.

And while not as good as his strongest works, such as The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, it was a return to form. It was released by Blumhouse Pictures, a studio built on low-budget horror and thrillers.

His follow-up, Split, also comes via Blumhouse and stars James McAvoy as a man suffering from multiple personality disorder.

The BFG – Trailer

Seeing that The BFG is coming from Disney, Steven Spielberg, and the writing of Roald Dahl, it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t stand for ‘The Big Fucking Giants.’

And while there are indeed some pretty big giants, I am reasonably confident in saying that while there’s no sex of any sort, there is a whole buttload of CGI.

Spring – Review

Spring movie poster

“Be careful who you love, because Spring is coming and it’s a monster.”

Some critics has described Spring as ‘Lovecraftian,’–which is what drew me to it in the first place–and while a very good movie, Lovecraftian it’s not.  For it to be so would imply that it was based on, or somehow similar or related to, the work of H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

And it’s not, not in the least.  Sure there are monsters, some even of the aquatic variety, and lots of water; but if that made a movie Lovecraftian, then Steven Spielberg’s Jaws could be as well (which it most definitely isn’t).

Because for a movie to be called so would mean that it not only involves monsters, but embody some of the underlying ideas of Lovecraft’s Mythos, which typically revolves around sinister forces aligned against humankind, whether on a larger or  smaller scale.

Now what Spring is is an awesomely taut, interesting love story.  It’s also best watched twice because you can see the care with which Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson craft their story.  There’s virtually no wasted frames in the entire movie, with everything you see either helping to contribute to a feeling of dread or sell the underlying premise.

Though it’s not perfect, with its weakest scene being the one where Louise (Nadia Pilker) looks into supernatural means to cure her…condition.  The problem isn’t the scene in and of itself, more so than if a person had lived as long as she had, she’d probably have tried it already (though in the movie’s defense she might have done so because she found herself growing closer to Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) and wasn’t thinking straight.

It’s no accident that that title of the movie is Spring, because the themes of death and rebirth run through the entire movie, most often in a very clever fashion.

The season of Spring has begun on iTunes, though be careful because while love may be eternal, you’re not.

Extraterrestrial – Review

The last film from The Vicious Brothers (who aren’t–biologically speaking–brothers) was the send-up of found footage reality shows, Grave Encounters.  It was one of the better examples of the genre because it was able to take many of the tropes that come with it (How is it that no matter what or where something happens there’s a camera conveniently located to capture it?  How are people are able to run with a camera in their hands and still manage to maintain an image that’s not nausea-inducing?  It’s almost as if they’re working with a steady cam or something) and at least make them interesting.

As a result I went into Extraterrestrial with higher expectations than I would traditionally, and was a bit let down.  Visually, aboard the alien spaceship–the last half hour or so of the movie)–was way too indebted to better alien abduction movies, like 1993’s Fire In The Sky.

Another problem was that the aliens were particularly murderous, which seems a bit at odds with the whole studying humanity part of their mission.  And speaking of violent tendencies, there’s a scene that plays with a joke earlier in the movie about the anal probing that aliens supposedly love doing on those they abduct.

Only this time, it’s used as an implement of torture. which makes you wonder what sort of highly advanced culture would travel seemingly light-years across the galaxy, just to kill someone by drilling into their ass.  Besides, if their intent from the start was murderous, then why bother bringing them aboard their ship at all?  Especially since these aliens–while resembling those from Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind–aren’t nearly as munificent.

This tonal inconsistency is particularly irritating in the last ten minutes of the movie, when it turns to The X-Files, complete with its own ‘Smoking Man.’  It’s an interesting homage, but it literally makes no sense because what would be the point of the military killing the abductees, when no one would believe them anyway?

And those that did would probably be so much on the fringe that it wouldn’t even matter.  The scene in question doesn’t ruin the movie, but the needless cynicism came pretty close.

Extraterrestrial has recently landed on Netflix.

Do We Really Need A Poltergeist Reboot?

Poltergeist poster

 

This is part of what I hate about Hollywood.  With the Poltergeist reboot trailer about to drop any day now, I wonder why anyone is remaking a movie that doesn’t particularly need it.  Tobe Hooper’s (or Steven Spielberg’s, depending upon whom you ask) haunted house thriller is not only one of the better movies it its type, but its aged pretty well too.

Then there’s the person that was chosen to direct: Gil Kenan.  So far he’s done two films, Monster House and City Of Ember, neither of which in my eyes making him a good choice for the reboot (despite obvious parallels to Poltergeist and Monster House).

There are SO many bad movies that would warrant a reboot, yet for some reason they start with the (potential) ruining of a classic.

What Separates A Successful Movie From One That Isn’t

Honestly, I have no clue.  Sure, I have ideas (and who doesn’t?) though you have to keep in mind that when I wrote that I thought that Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent was doomed to failure a few months ago that my reasoning was, for the most part, based on logic.  The “for the most part” is that I don’t think Angelina Jolie is a particularly good role model for young women.  Sure, she’s involved with all the right charities, but she also appears almost skeletal in pictures.

That’s not a good thing when, I assume, many of her fans are women of various ages, some of which happen to suffer from body-image issues.

And back on the logic side, there’s the fact that the production was troubled to such a degree that another director was brought in to help with reshoots.  And while that’s not necessarily a guarantee that a production is doomed, it’s not a good sign.  For example, the last time I recall it happening was when Oliver Hirshbiegel‘s 2007 movie The Invasion had reshoots done by the Wachowski’s.

And we all know how well that turned out.

More often than not, I don’t think much of movie studio executives.  From what I know of them, they appear to be a somewhat pampered, self-important lot that more often than not interfere more than they help any particular project.

In fact, if I were a studio executive and someone had brought me the screenplay–Hell, if Jolie handed it to me herself–I would have respected her enough to listen (though I don’t know how attentively) to the pitch before I wished her ‘Good day.’

And that’s even before a $180 million price tag would even had been mentioned.

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