Monday, August 1, 2022

Nope Review

I was at Universal Studios the past week, and was able to tour a set of Nope for a short time. I had no idea what to expect from the movie, nor the set, and it was interesting to see overall. I was fortunate enough to see Nope in Imax, and it definitely was a spectacle. I would recommend seeing movies in Imax overall, the picture and sound is second to none and really immerses you in the movie overall.

Nope, I thought was going to be a horror movie. While there are horror elements, it is not necessarily that, it leans heavily into science fiction and while there are some moments of horror, it really is a science fiction movie with a twist like you would expect from the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits. Either way, there’s something afoot in the movie, and you’ll get a little lost at first glance.

There’s a juxtaposition in the film that I won’t spoil, but there’s the main plot point and a juxtaposition of another story, and the two work hand in hand to explore a central theme of spectacle. The notion of capitalism and spectacle versus nature is something that is explored in a nuanced manner. The story follows a show horse rental company and disturbances on their ranch. There are several elements that are out of control, including a grid of power that keeps going down, without warning. Over time, it appears that ta UFO is causing the issue, and from there, the story starts to unravel to reveal more complexities over time.

Nope doesn’t have a lot of gore, it is a slow moving movie, and it is science fiction. I cannot stress that enough. I had to explain that to my sister, as she isn’t a big fan of slow burns, and this movie ended up not being on her top movie list to watch this year. She’s a horror fan. After seeing NOPE, I can truly say that Jordan Peele is one of the finer directors in the horror and now science fiction game. He takes on the notion of horror and implements it deeper into story line that features aliens, but not in the traditional sense. There’s a visual design flow that is great in this film, and though there is a limited amount of actors, there’s a lot going on, it is just presented in a slow moving manner. Imagine this like a slow boat ride attraction at an amusement park, with a stellar ending. The third and fourth act is where things really take off for NOPE and you really start to get startled, as the tension builds greatly throughout. The set pieces are great, the visual design is good, and the story juxtapositions itself with ease, making this an interesting movie, and one that you’ll think about long after you’ve seen it. I would see it again, and recommend it to anyone that likes Jordan Peele’s work. This one is a good one.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Black Phone Review

There are a lot of modern horror movies coming through the woodwork, but none of them have garnered as much attention as some of the ones coming from Blumhouse Productions, and once again they put out a film that is getting a lot of attention. This time around it’s an adaptation of the story from Joe Hill, son of Stephen King. Adapted and made into a full length could very well mean trouble as there have been some misses in the past when adapting stories, ala “Thinner” for example. But here we are, the movie “The Black Phone” has come out and it garnered quite a bit of attention and movie goers went to see it, including myself and my girl Lynette.

The plot of the film revolves around a mysterious psychopath that is abducting and killing children. When he targets a kid named Finney, and puts him in a basement, a broken phone starts to ring, and a supernatural element comes through when the dead begin to talk. Meanwhile, there’s a secondary character having dreams about The Grabber (the psycho), and we get that thrown into the mix for good measure.

“The Black Phone” was slowly paced, and difficult to stay awake in if you’re not ready for it. I was beginning to get bored during the movie, but I stuck with it and throughout the movie there are moments that speak volumes to the ending, which is satisfying. I won’t reveal it, but it takes you on a slow moving trip, and then punishes your senses with some stellar moments. The acting is good, the movie tightens up a lot, slowing the pace just when you think things are going to speed up, and then brings forth quite the impact in the end.

While I didn’t like the pacing of “The Black Phone” I appreciated the villain, the pay off, and the overall cinematography. It is a well made film, and something that is going to haunt some for sure. If you can get past the slow moving process, you’re in for a treat, as this movie does well as a whole, not in pieces. I thought it was good, and well worth price of admission, albeit lacking in gore. That’s just a nitpick of course, otherwise this is a tight thriller of a horror picture that is sure to delight horror fans of all backgrounds.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Sharks of the Corn Review

The horror genre has a lot of different angles that can be utilized to scar audiences. In recent years, a lot of comedy has come through and while it is meant to be in the horror genre, it just fails to scare. That’s not the intent, as many directors and writers are looking to turn the genre into a comedic affair, which can work at times (IE Scary Movie), but can lackluster in others. With “Sharks of the Corn”, we get one of the coolest posters that I’ve seen in a long time, and something that really seemed promising going into it with no other vision but the poster. 

Once you start the movie, you realize that you are in straight to vhs territory. Not even dvd, mind you, as the quality of the film is not HD at all, and really feels like it was amateur at times. I brushed that all aside and pushed through and what we got was an intentionally bad, comedy horror movie. The movie’s plot surrounds a few things, including a serial killer that is taking out his victims with shark teeth, and of course sharks in a corn field taking out anyone and anything that comes near it. The movie shuffles a little, and even has an alien invasion twist to it, shoehorned straight into the middle of the movie. 

“Sharks of the Corn” has an interesting premise to me, I liked the idea, I didn’t like the presentation however, but once I started this thing, I was all in, and kept watching to the end. It isn’t going to win awards, and most people may not want to sit through it all, but it’s schlock and decent in my opinion. In fact, it’s one of the best worst movies I’ve seen in a while, and I tip my hat to the filmmakers for throwing themselves into the mix and making a movie, with limited budget, and yet still comes out with some stellar moments. Heck a shark attacks a helicopter at one point! Grab a beer, get some pizza, and watch the mess of a movie, it’s exactly what you would expect, or worse. I laughed, so there’s that. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

X Review

I wanted to see the movie “X” for quite some time. I first heard it was going to be in theaters, and for whatever reason I just never got around to seeing it. I then waited for it to be available for streaming, and finally got it, so that I can see the overall hyped up movie. The movie had a simple premise, and it followed through with it quite well, leaving nothing to the imagination, and it’s an interesting ride, albeit not one that I may want to revisit soon.

The movie is simple enough, a group of people set out to make an adult film on a farm that they rented and turned into a makeshift studio. They follow the protocols that you would expect, only they end up being thwarted by an elderly couple that is seriously creepy. The old couple find out what is going on and they don’t want that to occur, so instead of stopping production the old fashioned way, they do so with blood and guts.

Overall, the movie is shot well, it has decent cinematography and the acting isn’t horrendous. I found myself enjoying the movie for the most part, and there were definitely sequences that gave it a good measure of success in the scares department. There’s some limited gore too, and that’s definitely something to look out for with horror movies, and the likes.

The pacing was solid in this movie, leaving no dead air or boring spots, as the movie progresses. It does have a few jump scares, but it doesn’t rely heavily on those, and that’s something that I can appreciate overall. There’s a sense of homage to the film overall and you really do get this sort of feeling that the filmmakers are playing up to a smart audience. With that in mind, you don’t really get too deep with the characters, and they are taken out one by one.

“X” surprised me in a way. I thought it was going to be a bit more blatant in horror, and for some reason I just couldn’t get myself to want to watch it over again. It’s adequate, it has some gusto, and it definitely provides a good sense of dread, with great special effects that are modern and classic at the same time. I’d recommend seeing “X” for sure, but owning it, I don’t know, I’m on the fence about it still. 

The Curse of La Llorona Review

As a Mexican I grew up with the folklore of La Llorona, and so it’s always interesting to see it become popularized in other mediums. I didn’t see this movie when it came out, but was aware that it was out. I decided to finally sit down and watch it, with my girlfriend who happens to have great taste.

The movie has a simple premise, a couple of kids get drowned by their mother, and then in 1973 an investigation into a family occurs in which strange things are happening to a couple of kids. As the investigation furthers, we find that there’s something supernatural going on, and it’s La Llorona, come back for revenge. But why? The film doesn’t really answer that question, so you have to just run with it.

Produced by James Wan, you would expect a lot more out of this movie, but honestly, there’s a lot that makes it fall apart in a way. One thing that I noticed was a heavy reliance on jump scares. There’s a lot of them, and it’s not that great, it becomes expected to the point where you may get bored, and when things aren’t jumping at you, you’ll find that things are just not that grand in terms of gore or anything.

This movie does have that taboo, targeting children. Children in horror aren’t usually the victims, but in this case it’s just part of the folklore so there’s a constant push against them. Linda Cardellini and Raymond Cruz do well in the movie, and the story flows fast. You’ll find that the movie doesn’t seem that long, and it progresses fast, regardless of the predictability of the story.

As far as a haunting style movie, it’s not terrible. It’s predictable, but it’s not something that I would watch again. That being said, you may like it. There’s a little something for everyone, despite the predictable nature of the film. It has some good atmosphere, it has some interesting moments, and it’s filmed well too. It looks good. It’s ok at best.