The best horror movies find a way to connect the fear to real emotion. The Babadook is one such movie. The low-budget Australian horror film flopped in its home country. But since then it has earned praise from horror luminaries like Stephen King and The Exorcist director William Friedkin. This shouldn’t be all that surprising because The Babadook takes inspiration from The Exorcist and The Shining among others.
Without getting into spoilers (yet), The Babadook takes the fears that every parent deals with every day and blows them up to monstrous proportions. Am I failing as a parent? Have I messed up? How can I make it one more day when I can never seem to catch a break or even a decent night’s sleep? Is my kid weird? Is his behavior normal? I love him, but sometimes I just want to wring his little neck. Any parent who is being honest with themselves can relate to most if not all of these sentiments.
In The Babadook, Essie Davis plays a single mom who is struggling. Her husband died delivering her to the hospital the day she gave birth to her now-six-year-old son, Sam. Sam is a sensitive boy who doesn’t fit in. He’s hyperactive and gets in trouble at school. He doesn’t play well with other kids. He’s prone to long, unstoppable panic attacks. And he’s obsessed with monsters which keep him up at night.
Tusk is the latest movie from writer-director-raconteur Kevin Smith. In the mid-90’s Smith came on the scene with the ultra-low-budget slacker comedy, Clerks. He was hailed as a promising film-maker and possibly the voice of Generation X. Since then, his career as a film-maker has taken a back seat to his role as a pod caster, public speaker and Hollywood personality. One gets the sense that Smith only continues making movies so that he will have new material for his day job.
Daffy and I both caught Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic, Interstellar this morning. So we decided to try something new. We set out to do a 10-minute episode of Le Show to review the movie. Instead, we ended up talking about Interstellar for 35 minutes. The first fifteen minutes is spoiler-free, so feel free to listen even if you haven’t seen the movie. We give you a warning before we start talking about the ending.
For the last week or so, I have been sidelined by a nasty cold. The upside of that is that it allowed me to catch up with some movies I had been wanting to see for a while. The most anticipated of the bunch was the Korean import, Snowpiercer. The quirky sci-fi action film made some waves earlier this summer during its limited release. But it failed to break out with mainstream audiences. As the movie becomes available on video, I think its cult status is assured.
Snowpiercer has a brilliant premise. An attempt to fight global warming goes terribly wrong and ends up freezing the earth making life unsupportable. What remains of humanity is now confined in a luxury train built by an eccentric and mysterious mogul named Wilford. The train is divided into a strict socioeconomic hierarchy with the rich passengers at the front of the train and the poor living in squalor in the tail section. Chris Evans, best known as Marvel’s Captain America, plays a resident of the tail who leads a revolution to the front of the train.
There is nothing Hollywood likes more than a formula. You can hardly blame them. Given the astronomical budgets of modern movies, studios like to play it safe. That means recycling old ideas in hopes of enticing audiences into seeing them one more time. Disney’s Maleficent follows a formula laid out by previous revisionist fairy tales like the studio’s previous hits, Oz the Great and Powerful and Alice in Wonderland.
Not surprisingly, first time director Robert Stromberg served as the production designer on both of those films. So he knows how to create a wonderful fairy land out of CGI. Maleficent is, if nothing else, a feast for the eyes. Although those with a low tolerance for CGI-created wonderlands may find themselves screaming “enough already!” before the story even takes flight.
Following the mega-success of Marvel’s super hero mash-up, The Avengers, the big question was whether or not Marvel could generate the same excitement over the character’s solo films. So far, based on the box office, the answer would appear to be a resounding “yes”. Both Iron Man 3 and Thor: Dark World enjoyed post-Avengers bumps. But for my money, Captain America: Winter Soldier is the first truly satisfying film in the series post Avengers.
Later tonight, I’ll watch AMC’s The Walking Dead. Typically I watch the show when it airs and then I rewatch it while cranking out my write-up. I can usually finish it within the hour between the first airing and Talking Dead. That’s because The Walking Dead is a pretty simple show that doesn’t require much from me as a viewer.
Wreck It Ralph is a winning animated feature from Disney (not Pixar this time) that will entertain both children and the adults who bring them. It’s funny, fast-paced and features a cast of characters you can’t help but care about.
For 50 years and 22 installments, Bond movies have followed a pretty rigid formula. A James Bond movie was an assemblage of exotic locations, pretty girls, cool gadgets, a car, a bad guy and a bunch of stunts. The stories were usually incomprehensible and besides the point. A good Bond movie was one where the whole added up to more than the sum of its parts. But even a bad Bond film could usually be counted on to have a cool car or a good action sequence.
The pilot for the season included serial killers, aliens and Jessica Lange as a nun who wears red lingerie. The only things missing were an exorcism and Zachary Qunito. So it’s probably not all that surprising that the second episode included Quinto performing an exorcism. Although Lange killing a child was still pretty shocking. It’s another jam=packed episode of American Horror Story. So let’s dive right in. Read the rest of this entry
Better late than never, here is my long-promised write-up of the season premiere of the second season of American Horror Story subtitled Asylum. As a programming note, I am going to try to keep up with this season as best I can. But sadly, when a show airs after my bed time in the middle of the work week, delays are likely.
It is impossible to discuss Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s clever horror movie, The Cabin in the Woods, in any kind of detail without spoiling the viewing experience. It would be a crime to rob anyone of a pristine first viewing of Cabin so consider this an extended spoiler warning. Joss Whedon built his name on subverting genre expectations. The entire premise of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was to turn the damsel in distress cliché on its ear. In Cabin, Whedon and Goddard collaborate to take as many horror tropes as they can think of and blow them up.
If you have not seen the movie, read no further lest you be punished. So sayeth the creepy old man at the gas station.