Movies

Patti Cake$ (2017)

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I’ll admit one of the only reasons I decided to watch Patti Cake$ was because I saw that it played at the Sundance Film Festival and part of me is a movie snob that thinks film festival movies are better than most. In any case, Patti Cake$ is about a young woman trying to make it as a rapper with some help from the unconventional members of her group. You may be thinking to yourself, “Great, another one of those movies, that doesn’t sound very original.” Don’t think that to yourself yet though because I’m here to tell you how this movie keeps it fresh and exciting.

The first thing it does well, and it better for being a movie about rapping, is the music. Patti is a fantastic rapper and the songs were catchy. I had some of them stuck in my head the next day and I had to YouTube them when I got home. I particularly loved how authentic it felt to watch them create some of the songs. They’d start it up with a sick beat then spitball around some lyrics until they found a chorus then built the rest of the lyrics up around that. It was a lot of fun to watch and, most importantly, to listen to.

Great music is to be expected from a great movie about music, but that isn’t what makes this so special. Hands down, the greatest part of this movie is the characters. They’re extremely unconventional and not your typical leads. All too often these days in movies, whenever you have a woman who isn’t stick thin she’s delegated to the comic relief or is just the punchline. In this movie, Patti becomes the punch line but then she punches right back. Call her fat? Call her ugly? She will destroy you in a rap battle, no question about it. This is the debut film of the actress, Danielle Macdonald, and I for one will be watching her very closely because she is a real talent and I’m looking forward to her next projects. She actually learned to rap for this movie, and wow does it pay off because every time she opens her mouth I am blown away by her talent. She has so much charisma and skill that if this was real I’d be listening to all her music.

I highly recommend this movie, and not just because it played at Sundance, but because it’s a fresh take on an old story. It’s expertly acted with some catchy tunes and I guarantee you’ll have a good time with it.

Verdict: 8.4/10 Peanut butter to the Wonder bread, jam to the Smucker’s, like some impotent dads they some bad motherfuckers

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Movies

Una (2016)

unaOk so I’m a liar… I didn’t continue watching movies off They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?, I watched a movie I’ve been waiting to see all October. Since it’s finally not horror movie month, I came home and turned on Una, a movie about a woman who confronts a man who slept with her as a young teenager and stars my favorite actress, Rooney Mara, as the lead, Una.

This movie is a slow burn, but it really packs a punch. I love the way the story plays out because at the beginning you have one picture of what happened to Una as a child. It’s very one sided and you think you have all the pieces, but then things change. You’re given new pieces of information that make you think that maybe this guy isn’t as bad as he came off at the beginning. But then things change again! I’ll go against the spirit of my blog and not spoil anything, but by the end of the movie I was left wondering what the real story was. Granted, it’s not the most original movie in the world, but I love how it was told nonetheless.

I liked Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn and even Riz Ahmed in their roles. They were all very believable and interesting to watch. Riz Ahmed had a small part, but ever since seeing him in The Night Before, I’ve looked forward to every part he’s played. He kind of plays that innocent, wide eyed, go with the flow type of guy in most of his roles but he’s always good. The chemistry between the two main characters though is where this movie shines. I felt all the emotions these characters were feeling; when they cried I felt sad, when they yelled I couldn’t stop watching, when they touched I cringed. One thing I love in movies is when they can communicate without having to say a word. One look, or just silence itself can say everything without needing to hold the viewer’s hand through the plot. There were several scenes where this was done perfectly for me and I was just able to read their body language or see in their eyes what they were thinking.

This definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and for some reason it’s gotten some low ratings, but if you don’t mind a slower movie this one is pretty great. The acting, story and execution were all top notch.

Verdict: 7.8/10

Movies

Halloween 2017

I thought October would be the perfect month for me to bring my blog back from the dead. I held my own fear fest of horror movies and had a sudden urge to start reviewing them so I did my best to hit up all the new ones I could before I ran out of time.

I wanted to compile the final list of all the horror movies I watched this October because I like lists. Frankly I’m a little disgusted with just how many I watched, but I love horror movies and couldn’t help myself. I remember watching scary movies on weekend nights as a kid, and holding a scary movie marathon with my friends watching the Chucky movies and Jeepers Creepers. They will always hold a special place in my heart.

Anyways, here they are, in order of how much I enjoyed them which doesn’t necessarily reflect the ratings I gave them. I just went with my gut on their placement… it gets difficult in the middle because a lot of those movies I didn’t have strong feelings about in either direction. Shout out to Martyrs which earned both my top and bottom ranking of 2017… congratulations to the both of you!

  1. Martyrs (2008) (New)
  2. Near Dark (1987) (New)
  3. An American Werewolf in London (1981) (Re-watch)
  4. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) (New)
  5. Wait Until Dark (1967) (New)
  6. Les Diaboliques (1955) (New)
  7. The Descent (2005) (Re-watch)
  8. The Thing (1985) (Re-watch)
  9. The Voices (2014) (New)
  10. Freaks (1932) (New)
  11. Audition (1999) (New)
  12. Bride of Chucky (1998) (Re-watch)
  13. Friday the 13th (1980) (Re-watch)
  14. Poltergeist 2 (1986) (New)
  15. Eden Lake (2008) (New)
  16. The Blob (1988) (Re-watch)
  17. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) (Re-watch)
  18. The Exorcist (1973) (Re-watch)
  19. The Howling (1981) (New)
  20. Eyes Without a Face (1960) (New)
  21. Funny Games (1997) (Re-watch)
  22. Halloween (1978) (Re-watch)
  23. The Wicker Man (1973) (Re-watch)
  24. Cult of Chucky (2017) (New)
  25. The Mist (2007) (New)
  26. Fright Night (1985) (New)
  27. The Shining (1980) (Re-watch)
  28. Poltergeist 3 (1988) (New)
  29. The Birds (1963) (Re-watch)
  30. Friday the 13th Part III (1982) (Re-watch)
  31. Suspira (1977) (New)
  32. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)  (New)
  33. Gerald’s Game (2017) (New)
  34. Drag Me To Hell (2009) (New)
  35. Alien: Resurrection (1997) (New)
  36. Creepshow (1982) (New)
  37. Phantasm (1979) (New)
  38. The Haunting (1963) (New)
  39. Trick ‘r Treat (2007) (New)
  40. Don’t Look Now (1973) (New)
  41. Martyrs (2015) (New)

Hi, if you’re still here I’m going back to my old watching habits of a couple per week as I work my way up They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? list and I hope to continue reviewing as I do.

Movies

Freaks (1932)

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Going way way back to a controversial classic horror movie. Freaks from 1932 is about a traveling band of circus performers and freaks. The main plot thread is about one of the performers taking advantage of one of the freaks for his money and let’s just say the other freaks are not having any of it. I liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would; the characters were well rounded, some of the jokes were funny, and the horror elements made me uncomfortable. This is a movie that hits all the marks and is made even more legendary because of its history which I’ll get into in a minute. Before that, I  just want to apologize for referring to them as freaks for the rest of this review, the exploitation of people with deformities and medical problems for entertainment is actually pretty messed up. Hans has it right when he says most big people laugh because they don’t realize he’s a man with the same feelings they have. But, on to the review…

You can read a lot more about this all over the internet, but this movie is famous for being so disturbing that the studio had to cut out almost 30 minutes and re-shoot a new ending. Based on the original script, some of the things they cut out were how Cleopatra turned into a duck woman and the scene showing that Hercules was castrated. That would’ve been shocking 30 years ago, but in 1932 I can totally see how it would’ve been too much for audiences. I, personally, would love to see the uncut original version but most of the deleted scenes were lost. I’ll count the world lucky to have even the scraps that we have now. However, it would be nice to have a more restored version with better audio because I had a hard time understanding some of the dialogue. The dialogue that I could understand, though, was really well crafted. I love early 30s movies because women were still given strong parts. Venus and Cleopatra (even though she was evil) had great parts with some funny lines. These were the times before women were confined to be the love interests of James Stewart and Cary Grant and what a wonderful time it was.

One scene that stands out for me is the wedding scene when the freaks try to initiate Cleopatra into the family by chanting, “We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!” Not only is that weird but also very creepy. That kick starts the end of the movie where most of the creep factor is. You see the freaks under the wagons and you know they’re planning something big. Then comes the most well known scene where they’re chasing after Cleopatra and Hercules in the rain and mud… very disturbing. What’s even more disturbing, and sad to be completely honest, is that they used real–I’m sorry again, this is just the name of the movie–freaks. The core message of the movie is that we’re all the same and you shouldn’t treat people badly based on how they look, but it’s a little undercut by the title. Something like this would never fly today. In American Horror Story, they have a character that’s a “Pinhead”, but it’s accomplished with make up and effects not by actually using someone with that condition.

I don’t know how to recommend this movie because I think it was fantastic, especially for 1932, but at the same time I feel bad watching these people being used for entertainment and horror. This is all I can really say, you judge for yourself.

Verdict: 8.4/10 Gooble Gobble

Movies

Eden Lake (2008)

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I found this movie on a list of modern horror movies you probably haven’t seen yet… which was pretty accurate at the time because I hadn’t seen this or even heard of it. This one has the Michael Fassbender in it! It’s basically about this couple who go on vacation to Eden Lake and are terrorized by a group of teenagers. It was a decent movie, but it didn’t do anything new or exciting to earn a re-watch badge with me.

I’ll start with the effects because I’m me and duh. There were 2 shots I remember that had great effects and made me really uncomfortable. One was the close up of Steve’s wounds because they looked pretty realistic and you could see the blood gushing out of them. The second one was when his wife, Jenny, gets the spike through her foot and she’s trying to pull it out. Both disgusting and painful to look at. Don’t believe me? Look at the image for this post and tell me that wouldn’t hurt!

As far as the acting goes, Fassbender was top notch and just like in The Mist, the A-lister steals the show. The kids were decent enough, but I found it extremely difficult to understand what they were saying, with the main kid being the worst offender. The British accent was so thick I could’ve benefited a lot from subtitles. Going back to the main kid, I thought he looked familiar and it turns out he starred in Starred Up a few years after this movie came out which I found very fitting. It’s almost like a sequel to this movie, where his stupid ass gets sent to jail for being a violent psychopath. It nearly makes up for the story which I’ll get into next.

The story itself isn’t too original; a couple goes away and the locals attack them. The execution was good, but it still had some annoyingly cliche scenes. One cliche being “woman hears noise outside tent and man goes to check it out”. Sure it scared me a little bit, but it was too cheap of a thrill for me to really appreciate. Another thing that annoyed me in this movie was that whenever they got into a car they would floor it through the woods. Hello, the guys you’re running from are on foot or, worst case, on bikes. You don’t need to floor it, just drive at a safe woods speed and you’ll get away without getting stuck or crashing.

Eden Lake is an alright one-watch horror film. It has good acting and gore effects, but the story has been done to death. Without Michael Fassbender, I think this would’ve been forgettable, but since he’s in it I’d say it’s worth a watch at least once in your life.

Verdict: 6.8/10 *mumbles something in a British accent*

Movies

The Voices (2014)

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The Voices is a comedy horror about a man who talks to his dog and cat and ends up killing people. Based on the summary for this movie, I don’t think I would’ve ever watched it, but my boyfriend picked it randomly for us to watch and I have to say it wasn’t bad at all. I found myself actually laughing at some of the lines, especially the cat’s which I found especially funny because cats are evil. Case in point, “Oh, Jerry, change the fucking channel before I explode!”, says the cat as he watches lion’s having sex on TV, followed by him saying in wonder and awe, “Check it out, a crocodile killing a motherfucking antelope.” I don’t know, is there any more proof that cats are evil than this? Meanwhile, the dog is just chilling on the couch being a good pet.

Aside from the positive light this movie casts on dogs, there were some other good points. Namely, the way the movie shows the difference the drugs make for Jerry. When he’s off the drugs, everything is bright and cheery and his home is clean then when you get snapped back into reality everything literally turns to shit. His apartment is filthy, has animal shit on the floor and, oh yeah… decomposing dismembered body parts. The execution of this idea was done perfectly, and just when you got used to off the drugs Jerry, you’re quickly brought back into the real world and realize that he’s got some serious mental problems.

Overall, this was a fun horror movie that provides some good laughs. The plot is unusual, and is actually genuinely horrific with how disgusting it can be at times. Ryan Reynold’s does a fantastic job as Jerry and the voices of his pets.

Verdict: 7.4/10 Sing a happy song… sing a happy song

Movies

Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

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I heard about this one from a YouTube reviewer that I follow. I agree with a lot of his reviews and I thought maybe this will be a fun horror movie to watch on a Sunday afternoon. I can’t even count the number of times I fell asleep and had to rewind the movie. I know I fell asleep at least 3 times during the last 20 minutes. This was just so boring and I’m not sure what the point even was. For those that don’t know, this movie is, I guess, about some weird little jack-o-lantern faced thing that sort of kills people but also people kill people and it’s Halloween.

I couldn’t care any less about the characters and I found everyone just so boring. I love Helo from BSG, but even he couldn’t save this movie for me. There are several different plots that intertwine at different points in the movie and it sort of begins with the ending… or ends with the beginning. The only positive thing I can say about this movie is the twist with the girls being werewolves was very unexpected. That’s actually all I have to say.

I was pretty bored with this movie, but maybe if you watch it with a group of friends under the right conditions you could find it fun. As a solo movie, I wouldn’t really recommend to watch this. There isn’t anything remarkable about it and you aren’t going to be missing out.

Verdict: 5.9/10 *Goes back to sleep*