It’s February, and you know what that means… it’s time for another episode. I actually am not entirely sure what else it could mean.
To start off this month of love, we are bringing one of America’s sweethearts to the front of the line. He has been an action star, a romance star, a heist star, a car star, and a truffle farmer st– wait what? Anyway.. it’s Momma Coppola’s Baby Boy – Nicolas Cage.
From a meme legacy to being a lot of people’s favorite dirty secret… Cage has been in a LOT of movies, and we’re here to just talk about a few of our favorites. So settle in, swallow after every thing you say, and keep your mouth slightly agape – it’s time for our favorite Nic Cage movies.
…we have to go back….
No, not that island, you masochists – we have to go back to a land where computers fill the air, because computers invented the air.. and your desk.. and your headphones.. and possibly those hundreds of guys in nice suits running at you. That’s right, we’re going back into the series that asked us ‘are we really here or are we actually in robot goo pods’ – THE MATRIX
Wire-fu, Bullet time, hot people in trenchcoats – The Matrix changed action movies forever, and made your friend with the wolf shirts look fashionable for a minute… does the new one hold up that high bar?
There’s only one way to find out – let’s go to the movies with Something In Review: Matrix Resurrections
Ok, here we …whoa… (i’m really proud of that one)
Happy Holidays everyone!
To give the Somethings a breather, and to give you twice the listening pleasure, for the month of December you get to roll back the clock with us as we look back at some of our favorite episodes of yore.
This week, travel with us to 2015 as we talk – Bad Movie Movie Posters!
Here’s what we said back then….
There is a little bit of movies that we sometimes overlook. No, it isn’t that your date keeps trying the hole in the popcorn trick and that you are starting to get worried about her. It’s the poster. The first thing you sometimes see about a movie. The thing that is supposed to emblazen upon your mind that this movie will be here eventually.
Some are amazing. Some are horrible. Some things are repeated ovvver and ovvver… so join in with the Somethings as we talk about movie poster tropes and themes that we have just seen too much.
Ok, here we go.
Before I get into this week’s topic – let me just say that this post includes some spoilers for Halloween Kills. If you haven’t seen it and you don’t want to have some of it spoiled for you – I suggest you skip this one.
Are they gone?
Ok, good. We didn’t want them here anyway.
I didn’t want to review Halloween Kills as much as I wanted to talk about what it did right and wrong. You see, the 2018 relaunch/new timeline/thing was, quite literally, the best Halloween movie I have ever seen. Of course it is hard to compare it to the 70’s original, but that movie defined the tropes of the ‘unkillable monster kills kids’ genre, but with that said, it did what no other Halloween movie had done other than the original… it engaged me.
Now, I love slasher flicks, obviously – but the reason you just don’t see that many is because the genre is stale with a rare exception (See: Terrifier, The Strangers) and there doesn’t feel like much more you can staple on to the old classics of Jason and Michael. But Halloween turns itself around. It isn’t a movie about a monster hunting a woman – it is about a woman who is prepared to kill the monster. It’s Laurie Strode’s movie. She isn’t the final girl – she is the protagonist.
Halloween Kills, as the middle chapter of the preordained trilogy, had hard shoes to fill. How do you keep the two away from each other so you can get to the actual really real final showdown, but also continue to try and turn the genre on its head?
You show what the PTSD of this monster caused to the town, the collective character of Haddonfield. With literal pitchforks in hand, this is a story of a hundred people who think they are just like Laurie Strode. They feel guilt about surviving, fear over Myers’ inevitable return, pain at what they’ve lost… and collectively they try and face Michael — and inevitably, they fail. It really is a brilliant concept, and I bet a few passes around with great writers could have evolved it into a movie just as strong as 2018’s was, but it can’t help but lean into its tropes, bury itself like a hatchet into the skulls of its viewer, and misses every mark along the way.
Somehow, the first film subverts its tropes and has ascended to easily the greatest slasher film of the last decade – and yet, even with a brilliant take on a sequel, the most recent film can’t help but feel like it has taken a step right back into what made people bored with the slasher genre to begin with.
I hope the final act continues the trend of giving us a different story than the one we expect. We’ve seen slashers die before, hell, we’ve seen Michael Myers die a couple of times.. the key is to make us still surprised by the idea.
Sure, Raimi did shakycam first… but did he give an actor a camera and tell them to just act like a dickweed for a few days and then scare the bajeezus out of him? No, that is Blair Witch territory – a movie franchise you either love or hate.
Maybe you love it because you fell for the gimmick of a movie that might have been real. Maybe you loathe the handicam films that it spawned. Perhaps, you love the whole mythos of the Burkittsville, MD creepy cryptid and need to know everything…
No matter what your stance is, they did a movie in 2016 that you didn’t see – and we’re going to review it. Is it as original as the first one? Does it answer the questions we threw into the damned river? Does it blow snotbubbles and apologize? Find out on Something In Review!
Ok, here we go.. standing in the corner…
I’m so proud of the world… it finally discovered one of my favorite sub-niche’s of entertainment: Games of Death
Everyone has gone crazy recently, the meme machine is pumping out hits, for Netflix’s newest gift from across the ocean, Squid Game.
Now, this premise may have some similarities to other things you’ve seen: A group of people are in a game that when they lose.. they die. Of course the similarities are there to be drawn to a dozen other things: Battle Royale, Hunger Games, Roller Games, Running Man, Gladiator, Alice in Bordertown, Saw… it’s a pretty lengthy list of weird movies that I have an affinity for.
In the month since it’s come out, it has already done the life and death of an internet trend. Some people notice it. Some people meme it. Some people declare it is the best thing that has ever been created and that nothing has ever been as unique. Some people hate those people. Some people get sick of it being mentioned and promptly hate it without ever having seen it. And they are the usual round of reactions.
Is it good, yes, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about here. It’s about how cool I am. You see, it’s a weird thing when something you’ve loved since you were a kid hits the zeitgeist. I get why the hipster mindset of ‘I was there before it was cool’ comes out because it feels like something special that you’ve owned for so long and now it isn’t part of your personal entertainment genetic code. There is this gut reaction of, ‘Yes, I know you like Squid Game, but have you ever seen…’ that makes you sound like a complete tool. I mean, they like Squid Game, sure, but don’t they understand that the trope of the character that can’t be good at the game or the bully are simply common features of the genre? Geez people, come on!
If you look inside yourself, you know you’ve done the same thing. Maybe it was when everybody started loving comic book movies and you stared at your longbox full of X-Force #1 and wrote a lengthy angry Livejournal post? Or when everyone got into Sharknado and you, the foremost authority on horrible ‘animals in disaster’ movies felt horrible when nobody called you for an interview.
Here’s the thing you need to hear though: don’t be that person. It’s great to discuss the origins of a genre or note all of these other movies that people who enjoyed Squid Game may have liked, but guess what… you don’t own a niche or a sub-genre. Yes, it’s frustrating that more people are ignorant to the nuance of people being flayed alive by board games, but you get to be the ambassador. Tell them how fantastic Tag is or find interesting comparisons to make about the characters. Use your obsession for the power of good.. and be happy the popularity of Squid Game means you may get a lot more games of death to watch in the future.
So how better than to bring in the Autumnal Season of Horror than with two of our favorite people out in the internet’o’verse?
This week, the Somethings are talking about a very particular topic. Some horror movies are good.. some horror movies are bad.. but, what SECOND horror movies are worth giving a shot? Of course anyone can talk about Texas Chainsaw X: Leatherspace or Leprechaun: Bring It On, but when you are only limited to the sophmore outing of your horror series, what’s out there that triumphs?
Joining us are none other than the Silver Screams (@Silver_Screams) – Megan Salinas (@themenguin) and Katie Cullen (@kiaxet) – two internet savvy fear fatales that you can find anywhere fans are talking about the things they love.
So get yourself some Pun’kin Spice, and ok, here we BOO!
Can we discuss Wonka?
Those that know me know that there are a handful of movies that are ‘my thing’ – movies that, back in the day of VHS tapes and stegosaurii, my copies wore through. The original Wonka, Gene Wilder, 70’s perm and all, is probably the first film I can even think of that I wouldn’t stop watching as a kid. Since then, I’ve learned I wasn’t the only one and Wonka fits similarly into many people my age because of our exposure to it at the dawn of cable and the tape.
We are now getting not one, but two Wonka related movies and I am filled with the fury of a middle aged white man on the internet. So lets take a look at the rumors as to what we’re getting in the Wonderful World of Wonka and gauge how angry I’m going to be… to be clear, Depp Wonka gets me a 9 out of 10 on the Hate’Ometer, saved from a 10 solely by the CGI squirrels.
The first is a ‘young Wonka’ story, as portrayed by acting Wunderkind Timothee Chamalet (to be clear, I have no idea if he’s a wunderkind (or how to spell that)) I just know that he’s in a lot of places, and I don’t know anything about him. That said, this is rumored to be the first in a ‘Wonka Cinematic Universe’ which is a phrase that makes me wince so hard I felt my neck pop. The only saving grace to this entire concept is that the writer connected to it is Simon Farnaby who has done some notable work (including Rogue One, The Mighty Boosh) — but as the Depp Wonka taught us, sometimes, telling us too much ruins everything.
The second one is an animated series being created by Netflix and helmed by Taika Waititi of What We Do In Shadows and Ragnarok fame. This, mind you, I have less of a problem with as I have always wondered why there wasn’t a traditional Saturday Morning Cartoon about Wonka. There were cartoons for Back to the Future, Pac-Man, Robocop.. all that came well after the property had seen its golden days, so why not Wonka? A cartoon also feels quite less important in the scheme of the universe and a lot more ability to be playful without living in a green screen.
In the defense of both of these concepts, I do appreciate that they are being done by not-Americans. Waititi from New Zealand and Farnaby from England, Dahl’s humor and sensibility was most certainly not an American one and we’ve already proven we don’t deserve the rights to write a Wonka film… in the end, a cartoon gets only mild grunt from me, but a Cinematic Universe? Please don’t. Oh dot, please oh please do not. No good can come of it and what other books are you going to tie that into?! Maybe a discussion for another blog.
Unless, mind you, these Wonka properties help bring back Wonka candy bars… the ones that had the graham crackers in the blend… then you’ll get a pass as I sit on my couch with a mouth smeared in chocolate that a Gloop would be proud of.
I recently saw a movie on Shudder that I’d like to talk about. We usually don’t use this space for individual reviews, but this was so unique, and so bothersome for me, that I thought I’d change up the formula.
If you don’t have Shudder, it’s the Netflix for horror films. From classics to a lot of new, to some original.. it really is a great mix of the genre. That said, horror is one of the easiest genres to do poorly, so there is quite a bit of bad amongst the brilliant.
Amongst them was a movie called ‘WNUF Halloween Special’ that came out in 2013. The reason that it is notable is that it is framed like a syndicated news report. I’m sure if you live near a larger city, you have your ‘WNYC NEW YORK’ affiliate with its ‘GOOD MORNING, DAYTON’ morning show and its weekend ‘PORTLAND LIFE WITH CHIP MOCKLY’ or whatever. They talked about the big stories, too, but they always felt a little more personal and it wasn’t unheard of to even know or run into the anchors.
Well, WNUF frames their handcam-horror show based on a report that came out in the late 80s, early 90s as a reporter and camera person go into a supposedly haunted house to perform a seance on Halloween. The anchors are smarmy, the host is a jaded old news rat, the locals that have gathered are awkward and have no idea how to talk into a mic. It feels as real as it possibly could. The first five minutes, I was floored that this concept had never been concieved of doing before.
Then the commercials. If the news spots were good, the commercials are amazing. Each one handcrafted to taste like some local business. State fairs, late movie creature features, car salesman in stupid outfits.. its all there with this grainyness and audio tinnyness that feels like it comes straight from its era and was ripped off VHS. Again – if you have nostalgia for this period of time – you will be blown away how hard it hits the nail on the head.
So we should watch it, you ask…
No – no you shouldn’t. Because what it succeeds in framing and graphical expertise in making everything feel and sound beautifully period, it fails in a story. It goes to commercials all too often, which is period accurate, but narratively frustrating as hell. In the same ways I was astounded that they made me feel like I was watching WPIX NY, I got angrier and angrier as a steady dose of nothing continued to happen.
I watch a lot of bad cinema, and I walk away going ‘well, they did what they set out to do’, but rarely does a piece of work make me feel anger at how much potential it gave up. If this is what my parents meant when they said ‘I’m not mad, just disappointed’ – then I finally get it.
If you have Shudder, do yourself a favor and watch the first 15 minutes of this… then turn it off, and imagine a really great movie they could have made. It will be better than the one you skipped.
You can find more reviews like this, over at my LETTERBOXD account where I catalog everything I watch when I remember to.
IT’S STILL YEAR 8!
And now it’s time to spin the wheel.. the wheel full of odd and interesting ideas and weird episode ephemera we can’t seem to fit in any other week. So what happens when you take a movie – and recast it with the same actors… but from other roles?
Well, I’m going to tell you what – you have today’s episode of the Wheel where we try and shove other characters into Hateful Eight.
Why Hateful Eight? Because we have a theme we’re holding on to, and I’ll admit, this is the best we came up with. So, we go over the details of one of Quentin Tarantino’s most devisive movies and replay it, but with a bunch of weird choices.
Ready? Ok – here we go!