Marvel Cinematic Universe Watchalong

mcuphase1Last month, I got a crazy idea. It all started on the fourth of July. Two of my friends had a bunch of people over for a barbecue. There were burgers and brats from the grill, salads, fruit, and homemade meringues. A couple of episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic were brought up so I watched my first-ever full episode of that followed by my second-ever episode. We had then settled into being inside people and wanted something else to watch. The most thematically-appropriate thing we could think of to watch was Captain America: The First Avenger because we are a bunch of nerds and it seemed patriotic enough. Continue reading

Shame List Challenge: First Month Update

After the first month of the Shame List Challenge, I have seen a perfect 16 movies (we set a limit of 4 movies per week to prevent cramming, seriously underestimating the insanity of the competitors, myself included). So far it’s me with 16, Ashlee with 16, and Alistair with…9. The battle rages on.

Here are the 16 I’ve seen, ranked in order of current preference:

1 Bonnie and Clyde
2 Full Metal Jacket
3 Halloween
4 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
5 Silence of the Lambs
6 Drop Dead Gorgeous
7 Touch of Evil
8 Network
9 Caddyshack
10 Night of the Living Dead
11 Primer
12 Saving Private Ryan
13 Rain Man
14 Night of the Hunter
15 Badlands
16 The Searchers

I have at the time of this posting managed to write about exactly one of them, but you know what, nothing got written at all for like half a year, so be grateful for what you get. Or something.

Touch of Evil

touchofevilNo, I’m not breaking new ground writing about the modern cinema canon. But darn it, I haven’t seen these movies, and now I am, so I’m writing about them. And maybe you haven’t seen them either! And maybe you should! (or maybe you shouldn’t! Read the review to find out!).

This is part of a the Shame List Challenge: for details, follow this here link. Continue reading

Shame List Challenge

shame-on-youSo I was challenged to come up with my official Shame List, which is to say, the 100 movies (in this case) that I am the most ashamed/chagrined/resigned to have never actually seen. And then the project is that from June 14-September 13, 2016 (because that’s when I’m writing this), it is a challenge between me and two of my friends to see as many as we can on each of our lists. The winner is showered in honor and glory and also the two losers have to buy them a nice DVD/Blu-ray of the movies of their choice.

Here is my list, as of June 14th, 2016, to be updated as I see movies and actually, just maybe, write about them: Continue reading

Bone Tomahawk (template)

BoneTomahawkName: Bone Tomahawk
Template time! Movies get template reviews when I don’t have the time or energy or concern about writing them something longer. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them (but sometimes it does). Template reviews contain no spoilers. If no link appears to a longer review around this sentence, I haven’t written one.

Year of Release: 2015
Basic blurb: It’s a horror western starring Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins. Mustaches. Horses. Plains. Cannibals.

Is there anything of note about the characters?
They’re stock, but they’re done well. Kurt Russell is excellent as the sheriff. He’s my favorite kind of by default because he’s so good, but I have a strong fondness for Matthew Fox wearing a very light-colored suit for the amount of dust and horses (and his silly mustache, but more on that in a second). And I always adore Richard Jenkins, and he’s awesome here too. He should be in everything. And I guess Patrick Wilson. I cared less about him, but I think that’s me, not the movie. Continue reading

Oblivion (template)

oblivionTemplate time! Movies get template reviews when I don’t have the time or energy or concern about writing them something longer. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them (but sometimes it does). If no link appears to a longer review around this sentence, I haven’t written one.

Year of Release: 2013
Basic blurb: In the future where we had to kill the earth to destroy the aliens, maybe life is still possible? Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough are the last humans around and they’re basically maintenance staff. Also Morgan Freeman is there.

Is there anything of note about the characters?
Not really. They’re pretty generic blockbuster scifi characters. Tom Cruise runs on several occasions and also drives a motorcycle, as he is contractually obligated to do in every movie. The male and female leads kiss, but there’s back story so it’s okay. None of this nonsense where the one main guy and one main woman who are brought together by Dramatic Action end up falling in love and it’s annoying and trite. Continue reading

Edge of Tomorrow (template)

Edge_of_Tomorrow_PosterTemplate time! Movies get template reviews when I don’t have the time or energy or concern about writing them something longer. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them (but sometimes it does). Template reviews contain no spoilers. If no link appears to a longer review around this sentence, I haven’t written one. 

Name: Edge of Tomorrow, or, occasionally, Live Die Repeat. It’s a strange thing.

Year of Release: 2014

Basic blurb: Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt do remarkably smart blockbuster scifi.

Is there anything of note about the characters?
They are good! They are, like, real people! I know, madness. Emily Blunt is a badass and that’s awesome to see, and Tom Cruise, as many people said at the time but sorry I only saw it just now, really plays on his overly charming persona well. Man, when he smiles, you get what people mean when they say someone has a 1000-watt smile. It is a weapon to be wielded carefully. And, get this, there is even character development! And Emily Blunt’s upper arms/shoulders! Which, okay, don’t develop, but damn. Every time she does the plank into up-dog (yoga terms, people) it was amazing all over again. I want to be that strong. Continue reading

The Hateful Eight

Sam: WHAT? A MOVIE DISCUSSION POST? Yes, dear readers, we are doing your favorite discussion format, but this time, about a movie. I know, it’s exciting. What’s more exciting is that it’s about a good movie, and a movie you might actually want to see. Today’s topic shall be Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film (as the credits so helpfully remind you), The Hateful Eight. We both saw this movie in OMG NECESSARY CINEPHILIACASM 70mm, and we have a blog, therefore we are qualified to tell you all about this extremely Tarantino-y movie.

Emily: It might have been the most Tarantino-y movie ever and that’s saying something because it’s not like he ever makes anything that’s not very much him. It was so good and I want to see it again. The 70mm was pretty gorgeous, though, so I think I’m going to be angry every time I see it when it’s not in 70mm.

Sam: No, no, don’t be angry, just think wistfully of seeing it all giant on the screen and settle in with contentment for the talky, bloody ride. Before we jump to spoilers/an actual reasonable, full discussion of the movie, it’s worth noting: this movie is recommended and you should go see it. Provided you know what you’re getting into, but you should know what Tarantino is by now, and this is that.

Continue reading

The Precious Snowflake Guide to Crimson Peak

Allerdale Hall
Allerdale Hall, nightmare of building code inspectors worldwide.

Tom Hiddleston likes to make my life difficult, it seems. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of horror movies, but here he goes, making a horror movie directed by Guillermo del Toro. It’s like he wants me to have nightmares, because obviously I have to see it. If you’re in the same boat, but also hate horror movies, read on. Maybe knowing what’s coming will make the experience more fun?

But in all seriousness, CRIMSON PEAK is not that scary. It’s a stunningly beautiful film, full of delightfully gothic-gory details (the walls are bleeding, but it’s ok, it’s just clay… right?), and really comes alive in the IMAX version I saw (seriously, go see it in IMAX). And Thomas Sharpe is the kind of character Hiddleston excels at: a Victorian Loki, charming and seemingly sweet, with dark secrets and an essentially good heart. Totally worth the scary movie.

In a mostly spoiler-free summary, the horror is basic: things go quiet before a loud scary noise, so it’s easy to tell when you’re about to flinch. If you’re me, you still flinch, because loud scary noise, but the sound design prepares you for most of the jumpy moments. And most of the truly gory moments are brief, and don’t dwell on the gore. Overall, it’s less gory that, say, UNDERWORLD, and with a much better plot.

SPOILERS AHEAD Continue reading

The Martian

themartianThe Martian is fine. It’s fine. Just fine. It’s not the movie’s fault that I am quite hardened and like a darker, grittier, more unpleasant movie-going experience. But, as I have said to many people already on this topic, it is good to see movies I can recommend to normal people.

Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is… The Martian. He is an astronaut and through no real fault of the rest of the crew on his spaceship, he gets left behind on Mars (presumed dead). Turns out, he’s not dead! And you don’t get to Mars without being quite smart and more than a little resourceful, so he starts to figure out how to sustain his own life until someone can come back and get him (to repeat a joke from the interwebs, between Saving Private Ryan, Interstellar, and The Martian, we sure have spent a heck of a lot of money and effort rescuing Matt Damon). Continue reading