Jeremy Saulnier Double Feature: Green Room & Blue Ruin

A few weeks ago, I found myself alone in the house for a full weekend. That’s never happened before, so I grabbed my giant movie binder and dragged it into the living room along with a stack of films I’ve had sitting around for a while.

I’d gotten a copy of Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room when it was released on Blu, but wound up not having a place to cover it. I also felt strange about it after the passing of Anton Yelchin, an actor whose work I’ve really grown to appreciate over the years. I also knew this was one of the more intense films of the year and wasn’t sure if I had it in me. Well, when I was alone, I felt like challenging myself and finally put it in. Continue reading Jeremy Saulnier Double Feature: Green Room & Blue Ruin

Halloween Scene: New Movie Roundup

p9523329_p_v8_aaAs I mentioned in my first post in what felt like forever, I was awful busy looking at Halloween related material for work throughout September and October, which resulted in a lack of posts here on the site, a first if I’m not mistaken. Sure, Halloween season is technically over, but I wanted to write a bit more about a few of the newer movies I saw on Netflix in preparation for two Spinoff lists: 5 Recent Indie Supernatural Horror Movies Worth Watching and 5 Recent Slasher Flicks to Take a Stab at For Halloween.

First off a little background that I mentioned in those posts, but didn’t get fully into. While looking around for horror movies on Netflix Instant back in September, I realized that a lot of movies I’d heard good things about on Killer POV (my favorite horror podcast) were on there. I tend to avoid new horror movies out of a kind of fear, not necessarily a fear of being frightened by them, but a fear of being subjected to awful depravity. Let’s face it, that was the subgenre du jour for a while there. It seemed like every new movie I watched was just filled with torture. Not my bag.

john dies at the endBut after hearing about so many quality movies that had come out — many of which don’t work for everyone, which is fine my me — I decided to focus my viewing efforts this season on new movies from this decade. With only four years to choose from, I was a little worried about slim pickings, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the results. In fact, I think I enjoyed everything I watched (at least on some level).

Alright, let’s start with the Supernatural list. I covered them pretty well, but to take things a few steps further Don Coscarelli’s John Diest At The End and Resolution are two of my favorite scary movies in a long time. I loved The Innkeepers. Like I said in the review, between the on-screen scares and my anticipation of scares based on lesser films, I was pretty wiped by the end of that viewing experience. I thought about watching Ti West’s Sacrament, but wussed out.

rites of springI’d seen Odd Thomas on Netflix several times, wasn’t sure about it, but finally watched it and really enjoyed it. It kind of reminded me of Brick, but with less melodrama and more death-monsters. I liked it so much, I’m actually reading Dean Koontz’s Odd Hours from the library. It has the same feel as the movie. I’d like to see Anton Yelchin star in a series of films or, better yet, a TV show based on the character. I still can’t tell if All Cheerleader’s Die is a super clever film or I’m just reading too far into it, but it was definitely worth the watch.

Over to the slashers, this was another pleasantly surprising batch of films. I was especially surprised by how much I enjoyed Curse Of Chucky as that’s not exactly a series I’m in love with. I also wasn’t sure if Maniac would be my bag because I’ve never seen the original or its fellow real-killer-in-NYC ilk, but I found it chilling and Elijah Wood captivating in the lead role. I actually felt super creepy walking anywhere near a woman when I was going from the hotel to the bar during NYCC because of that viewing experience. Stage Fright was so much fun, but that might be solely because of my experience in high school musical theater. It’s goofy and weird, but I’m okay with that.

The-Innkeepers-PosterI’ll be honest, I didn’t actually watch Hatchet II again, but those films are still some of the best slasher flicks I’ve ever laid eyes on from any decade. I didn’t really think about it until I wrote that list, but it’s difficult to think of any other series with that much consecutive quality. Finally, I really liked the look and mash-up feel of Rites Of Spring. It’s on the shortlist of movies I watched this year that had a distinct color pallet and style. I found myself wondering if the Stranger was actually satiating a kind of crop god or just a crazy person throwing blood down on a man in a weird mask for decades. It would have been nice to get some of those answers, but I didn’t think they were necessary.

I also watched American Mary. I’ve got a blog post written that I’ll throw up this week. Here’s a preview, I thought it was pretty damn unique, but I’ll probably never watch it again. I still really dig the You’re Next viewing experience and do think I’ll return to that one at some point. Speaking of repeated viewings, that was the focus of my late-October horror movie schedule which will make up another post!

Halloween Scene: Fright Night (2011)

I know a lot of people love the original Fright Night, I’m just not one of them. I don’t hate the movie and know I’ve seen it a time or two, but the last time I tried watching it on Netflix Instant however long ago, I turned it off because I was bored. I can’t remember now why I was bored, but I just wasn’t interested and dipped out. So, when I heard the news that it was getting remake, I didn’t really care and not just because I think people who get all bent out of shape about remakes need something real in their lives to worry about instead of movies.

Anyway, I was curious. I heard good things and the cast  is pretty stacked with Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and David Tennant. So, I bumped it to the top of my Netflix DVD queue when October hit. And, man, did I have a good time watching this movie.

The story is kind of a sped up combination of Lost Boys and Rear Window as Yelchin’s character comes to terms with the very real truth that his neighbor Jerry is actually a vampire. His buddy Mintz-Plasse tries to tell him and the he tries to convince his mom (Collette) and girlfriend (the wonderful Imogen Poots) to varying degrees of success until the truth can no longer be denied. You’ve also got Tennant playing an occult loving Vegas magician in the vein of Criss Angel.

Like I said, I don’t remember much about the original flick, but I seem to remember the structure of this film being pretty similar. But, this time around things move FAST. I wasn’t watching the clock, but I want to say by the 30 minute mark we knew Farrell was a vampire, a few people had been killed/turned and Yelchin has learned about Farrell by sneaking into his house. I don’t know if this flick would work as well for a novice horror fan, but for one who’s seen a lot of these movies, it moves along at a great clip. For that alone I’d dig this flick, but you add in a stellar cast, some mostly good effects (friggin’ CGI blood splatter needs to go away forever) and a solid budget and I’m all in for this movie.

Quick Movie Review: Terminator Salvation (2009)

I don’t remember hearing anything good about Terminator Salvation, but I actually enjoyed the movie last night. Maybe it’s because my expectations were pretty low from the poor reviews or maybe it’s because I’m just not that big of a Terminator fan to begin with, but I took it for what it was: a stylish, action movie with lots of robots kicking ass and getting their asses kicked. Frankly, I liked it a lot better than Transformers 2, for whatever that’s worth.

The story takes place before the events of the first movie, so we see young John Connor and Kyle Reese, Christian Bale and Anton Yelchin respectively, fighting all kinds of Terminators. You’ve got motorcycle ones, plane ones, the first version of the T-800 (more on that in a second) and a big ass one looking to capture people, all of which looked pretty cool to me.

The movie is interesting because there isn’t necessarily a main bad guy. The enemy is the machines. And sometimes humans (not the only George Romero-esque theme in the movie, by the way), but you do get the good ol’ “boss fights” at the end, one of which SPOILER involves a very T1-looking Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s not actually Arnold, but a stunt man with Arnold’s face composited on his, but I thought it looked awesome.

One other thing I wanted to mention was the camera work/vision that director McG brought to the party. Sure, sometimes basic four-shots seem a little bungled, but there’s this great moment early in the movie where Connor jumps in a helicopter, the camera follows him in, then swirls out to see the action and comes back into the helicopter while it crashes. It’s all one shot and I thought it was great.

Sure it’s a little overblown at times and some of the surprises weren’t all that surprising, though I’m not sure if the whole Marcus reveal was supposed to be TOO surprising (the missus actually guessed it as soon as he popped on screen), but overall I thought it was a pretty fun action movie. Definitely worth the rental and I think I would dug it on the big screen too.