Catching Up

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything here. I haven’t felt the desire to really put my thoughts about what I’m watching into words. Not to say I haven’t watched things lately that weren’t worth writing about. I’ve slowed down a lot on movies, but I’ve watched some great TV Shows. I’ll do another quick fire of things I’ve watched recently to get my juices flowing. Then the next movie I plan to watch, At Once, will hopefully have something worth writing a full post about.

The Newsroom (2012)

This is a TV Show that aired on HBO for 2.5 seasons. I watched the first episode and was hooked. I actually couldn’t make myself stop watching it. I watched the first season and a half in just 2 days. I thought the premise to try and run a news broadcast that focuses on the news and not ratings was interesting because I hate watching the news for that exact reason. I immediately fell in love with the ideas, the characters and the dialogue. I’m a fan of the fast talking sarcastic quips they do fairly often. I laughed a lot and ended up caring about almost every character on the show. Season 2 was brilliantly laid out and made it so I had no choice but to keep watching. They start off somewhere in the middle of the season’s plot and then fill in the pieces with each episode until you’re caught up. I watched the first episode and just had to know what could’ve possibly happened that was so bad. Season 3 took a little bit of a dive with the first 2 episodes feeling dull, and the series finale wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t that great. If they were able to do a full last season and finish it off stronger I would have given it a perfect score. It’s definitely worth a watch, just make sure you have a couple hours set aside cause you won’t be able to watch just one episode.

Verdict: 9(.5)/10 


carolCarol (2016)

I absolutely loved this movie, it’s now one of my favorites and is on my regular re-watch list. I’ve seen it twice and am probably going to go for a 3rd watch soon. Maybe tonight because writing about it makes me want to see it again. It was so beautiful and restrained, nothing felt forced or unrealistic. It was slow but it sucked me in completely. Carol is kind, sophisticated and knows what she wants. There is something about her that just draws you in and it’s easy to see how Therese felt drawn to her. The movie had ups and downs that kept me emotionally invested and I felt so much throughout the entire movie. That feeling of thinking you found something special and then having it ripped away from you is devastating. I don’t want to say too much on the plot cause I think not knowing how it turns out really amplifies every decision the characters make and leaves you in suspense. It’s one of my top favorite romance movies and 100% recommend it.

Verdict: 9/10


hushHush (2016)

This is a horror movie where the main protagonist is both deaf and mute. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. As far as thriller/horror movies go, this is one of the most suspenseful and thrilling ones I’ve seen. I really wanted the main character, Maddie, to succeed and get out of there alive. Every scene is straight out of all the other horror movies out there, but it’s elevated to a new level when we know she can’t hear anything. He could be coming up behind her and she would never know it. When she’s trying to be quiet walking on the roof, she doesn’t know if she’s making lots of noise or not. That unknown makes it all the more suspenseful. Not to mention the fact that they inject some realism into the story with her not being able to load the crossbow.  Great, she got a weapon, but she’s still just a regular person and didn’t immediately become some badass who can shoot a man with a crossbow from across the room. Not that I don’t love that, but when I don’t have to suspense my disbelief as much, I enjoy movies a lot more. This one is on Netflix and is definitely worth the time.

Verdict: 9/10


10_cloverfiled_lane.jpg10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

As I was writing my other reviews, I realized a common actor among them–John Gallagher Jr.. He was in the Newsroom, Hush and in this review’s movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane. This is a “sequel but not really” to Cloverfield which I liked a lot when it came out. I didn’t know much about the movie before I started watching it and felt myself getting frustrated wondering when the Cloverfield things were going to start happening. So much so, that I almost couldn’t finish the movie because I thought it was crap and a waste of time. So I paused it, went over to IMDb and realized that it’s a standalone movie that merely exists in the same universe as the other. Once I understood that, it became a lot better of a movie. It was suspenseful and mysterious. I kept going back and forth in my mind wondering if John Goodman was telling the truth or if he was lying to keep her imprisoned. If it were me in that situation, I wouldn’t want to believe him because all I could think is that I’d end up as some idiot who was tricked into living in a bunker for 10 years. Momma didn’t raise no fool, so I really felt her predicament. On the flip side,  I’m really crushing on John Gallagher Jr. now. He was so sweet in this movie as Emmett and in the Newsroom. Ok sure, he was like a serial killer in Hush… but he was also in Short Term 12 which was an equally amazing movie. It all balances out in the end and I loved his character in this movie. When Emmett, let’s just say, was no longer part of the movie my jaw hit the floor. I love when movies have balls and just shock me with a plot decision. Overall, this was a really cool standalone movie that I will definitely re-watch.

Verdict: 8/10


And lastly, one sentence verdicts on some of the other movies I feel deserve a shout out.

10.000 km (2014) – Another great romance movie, except the characters start out in love and the movie progresses from there. Verdict: 8/10

Victoria (2015) – A 2h 18m movie all done in 1 continuous shot with strong characters and plot. Verdict: 7/10

Moulin Rouge! (2001) – A loud, obnoxious, annoying movie with weak characters and plot. Verdict: 5/10

Ant-Man (2015) – Pretty boring super hero movie that was lacking something that I just can’t put my finger on. Verdict: 5/10

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – Great movie but needs a re-cut without the Mr. Yunioshi scenes… Verdict: 8/10

 

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Earthlings (2005)

earthlings


Earthlings is easily the most disturbing, sickening movie I have ever watched. It is absolutely disgusting, even more so because it’s all real footage. I sort of knew what I was getting into when I set out to watch this, but it’s one of the top documentaries and I do my best not to leave anything out… so here goes.

The first 10 minutes lull you into this false sense of security… you think to yourself, “Well this isn’t so bad, I don’t see what all the fuss it about.” Some of the comments I read about this movie claimed that they almost couldn’t make it past the first 20 minutes and now I completely understand why. It was heart shatteringly sad and made me leak clear fluids from my eyes. I questioned whether I could make it through this, but dammit… I have sat through the worst of the worst and I wasn’t going to let this movie get the better of me. When they get past the Pets segment and get into Food that’s when things take a turn for the worse. Food and Clothing especially were incredibly difficult to watch and left me feeling completely numb inside. One scene made me particularly angry, and that was when the man was beating the pigs because they weren’t moving fast enough. I hope everyone he knows saw this movie and disowned him. The way some of the people in this movie go about their jobs like they’re a cashier at a grocery store scanning items is appalling. To make things even worse, in the Entertainment section when the guy was telling the new trainer how to “train” the elephants, I was actually kind of hoping the elephants would just stampede out of there. Really, there is no excuse for treating animals that way and I can’t imagine any argument that could justify a single minute of that footage. I don’t care if it’s more cost effective to kill them a certain way, have some respect and empathy. Some documentaries I can look at and criticize for not showing the whole story and yeah this movie is very one sided, but let’s not kid ourselves here… there is no other side. Even if a pig killed a man’s entire family, it doesn’t deserve to be treated the way it was treated in that footage. What happened to that dog, you’ll know the one if you’ve seen this movie, has absolutely no justification.

Look, I’m not a vegetarian, not an activist… nothing of that nature, but I think this movie should be required viewing for anyone that owns a pet, eats meat, wears leather or goes to zoos. I don’t know whether this movie will make me a vegetarian or not, but I do know that I don’t plan on ever buying leather or fur, or going to any kind of park where they parade animals around for our amusement. It’s time like these that I wish I really were a robot so I wouldn’t have to be grouped into the same species as these monsters.

Verdict: 8/10 Don’t eat before you watch this…

Evil Dead II (1987)

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Evil Dead II is one of those special movies where you need to shut off your brain to be able to enjoy it. The plot is completely nonsensical, the acting is horrendous and the screaming is a crime against humanity’s ears. I suppose that’s pretty harsh, so I’ll go through each of those points in detail so you can get a real sense of what this movie is all about.

Clearly this is a sequel to the Evil Dead, which I’ve seen before and enjoyed enough that I gave it an 8/10. This movie starts off with a recap to the first movie, but it is insanely confusing because Sam Raimi who directed it lost the rights to the first movie and couldn’t do a proper recap. The first 10 minutes is so confusing that there is an actual debate going on whether or not this movie is a sequel or a remake. After the “recap” is over, the movie starts to pick up and have a real plot. This is just a fake out though, there is no real plot in this movie. It’s basically lots of screaming and special effects shots based around some people stuck in a cabin.

The lack of plot could be acceptable if it weren’t for the unbelievably bad acting. This isn’t the kind of movie that’s trying to win an oscar for best actor, but… well I stopped the movie half way through to get some crackers. Can’t have cheese without crackers. It’s a b-movie comedy and part of the original charm was the cheesy acting, but it’s like the sequel decided to move past charm levels of cheese and move into eye-rolling, face-palming cheese territory. This applies to every actor in the movie, not just Ash, even though he was the worst offender.

This point will be short and sweet; the screaming was unbearable. At some point I forgot what real words sounded like. They replaced all dialogue in this movie with people screaming really loud for a really long time. My ears did not appreciate this.

Now I can’t write this review without mentioning the special effects. I’m actually legally obligated to give credit to the practical effects used in this movie. As laughable as it was at times, it brings me so much joy seeing real objects interacting with the actors. I loved seeing what they could do without the use of a green screen and CG. While I’m on the subject of loving things, I did love some of the shots in this movie.The two that come to mind is the one where the camera chases Ash through the house and is moving around the corners and going through the doorways. It’s seamless and perfect and must have taken a long time to get right. The second one I remember well is the one where Ash is on the floor and his hand is dragging him along. The camera switches to this first person view and you get that “I’m being dragged across the floor” feeling.

The bottom line is if you can manage to shut off your brain then you just might enjoy this movie. If you haven’t seen the first movie, then you’ll need to remove your brain entirely. As for me, I remodeled my brain and my brain shut off switch is forever lost in the walls, permanently in the on position.

Verdict: 6/10 Needs more plot and less cheese

Let Me In (2010)

Here I am, back to my regular format which is good because it would be a short post otherwise. Apparently you can’t trust the word on the street anymore because this movie was not better than the original. Part of it might be that I enjoyed the original so much, but most of it is because it really wasn’t as good. It wasn’t a terrible movie by any means though. The plot was solid and they were able to show certain elements of the plot that I didn’t piece together in the original. Of course, they had to take out a spoon and feed them to me. Even though I didn’t get everything in the original on my first viewing, I still prefer their method of storytelling because it gives me a reason to go back and watch it again. The remake laid everything out on the table for you and didn’t leave much room for interpretation. Anyways back to the good parts… I like that they… uhh… kept some lines almost word for word from the original. The parts I liked in the remake were the parts that they kept the same. The only exception to this is the part when Oskar/Owen cuts his hand to make a blood pact with Eli/Abby. In the original it was pretty weird the way he did it, but the aftermath of her drinking it off the floor was good. In contrast, the remake did the actually cutting part better, but wow was the aftermath ridiculous. She turned into some kind of veiny demon monster and it just seemed so unnecessary.

I’m just going to start firing off what I didn’t like about this movie. I’ll start with all the awkward dialogue such as Owen’s mom having the divorce talk with his dad on the phone right in front of him, the second thing Abby ever says to Owen is that they can’t be friends even though he never even said anything to warrant it, and Owen’s dad complaining about Owen’s religious mom while they’re on the phone together. If there was a time when the dialogue wasn’t awkward then it was the delivery that was really awkward. I found the acting sub-par and felt as though the actors were trying to emulate the original way too much. Owen kept going back and forth between sounding like Oskar in the original and sounding like his own character. Acting-wise Abby was not nearly as good as Eli; it felt like she really was a 12 year old girl and not an old vampire. Something I loved in the original was the “what happens when you become a vampire” subplot. This was changed substantially in the remake and didn’t add anything to the plot. You see her drink her own blood and then burst into flames which was presented more like they were trying to gross out or scare the audience than trying to provide us with exposition on vampires. I will end this post with the following list of random observations: bully’s older brother says the same thing to bully that bully says to Owen so we can sympathize with the bully trope; Guardian drops container of blood down hill, runs to get it, sees car coming, suspenseful music starts playing… and nothing happens trope; Guardian hides in back seat of potential victim’s car with a garbage bag over his face in plain view if either of the kids decides to ever look in the backseat stupidity.

If I learned anything from these two movies it’s that you can’t believe what you hear on the streets and, for the most part, remakes never live up to the original.

Verdict: 6/10 Needs more CGI cat attacks

Let the Right One In (2008)

As promised, here comes the least rage filled post to date on The Waffleton Post. I won’t say a single negative thing the entire time and it might not be as hard as I think because I actually really enjoyed this movie. This is how you do a vampire movie with children as the main characters. The actress who played Eli was perfect. I really do mean that, she was creepy as hell but still got some sympathy out of me. The way she played it, I felt like she didn’t enjoy killing people, she just did it because she had no other choice. She looks like she’s around 12 years old, but the way she acts you can see the maturity that comes along with, what I’m guessing is, centuries of being alive. Now, I know I said I wouldn’t mention things I didn’t like, but I normally despise little girls that are supposed to be creepy because for the most part, they aren’t. However, this movie completely changed my mind on that because when she attacked people and jumped on their backs, it creeped the hell out of me. I feel like if vampires existed and there was a little girl that was turned into one, this is how she would act. Even though I usually include spoilers in my reviews, I can’t bring myself to do it here. I didn’t realize until I was reading about the movie later on that Eli is what she is, if you know what I mean. Somehow it never clicked for me, but wow does it make a lot of sense. I almost want to watch the movie again right away so I can watch it from a different point of view. It’s like Fight Club or the Sixth Sense, except I was too stupid to even realize there was something else going on the whole time. On that basis alone, this is one of those movies that has really good replay value.

Moving on from Eli and how awesome she was, I had some problems with the plot, but overall it was pretty solid. I loved the subplot of Eli biting that woman but not getting the chance to kill her. You were able to see what happens to a vampire when they’re first turned, when they try to get a sun tan and when they don’t feed. The best part about all of that is that they showed it to us instead of telling us all the back story. I’m sick of movies that have a character give exposition for 10 minutes when the way they did the exposition in this movie was amazing. If you really sit and think about it, like this movie did, you can do something more creative than just flat out telling the audience what they need to know like some kind of textbook. Of course, I can’t not mention the cat attack scene though, that was nearly as ridiculous as Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus using the same footage and just reversing it thinking that no one would notice. However, I will say that some of the special effects were really top notch. Eli’s guardian’s face at the hospital almost had a better melted face effect than The Dark Knight’s melted face. And vampires basically bleeding out of all their orifices if they enter a house uninvited was a cool twist on vampires that I haven’t heard of before. In contrast to the sometimes sketchy special effects, the dialogue was perfect and it was just the way I like it. It almost sounded like real people talking and the meaning behind the words was subtle. The more movies I watch, the more I value subtlety in dialogue, and foreign movies seem to do the best job at this. I don’t like feeling as though the writers are taking pity on me and spoon feeding me the main ideas and I definitely was not fed in this movie seeing as how I missed out on a pretty substantial plot point.

All in all, clearly I liked this movie a lot and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be to write a purely positive review. I really really wanted to talk about that cat scene though, I could’ve raged hard on that one. I suppose there are many more movies out there that will allow me the opportunity to special effects rage, so I’ll let this one off the hook. Since the word on the street is that the remake, Let Me In, is even better than this I’m going to give it a chance and see how it is. From here on out, I’ll be going back to my regular format of saying whatever I want about the movie, so Let Me In you better not be a terrible remake.

Verdict: 8/10 Needs less CGI cat attacks

Shinsekai Yori (2012-2013)

Well this is my first anime review so it should be interesting. It took me way too long to finish this 25 episode series. I don’t like using the term binge watch, so I’ll just say I watch things in small chunks unless it’s really short or really good. The first half of this show was the latter. I liked the mystery and the art style which reminded me of Ghost Hound, one of the first anime I watched. It had this nostalgic feeling for me, but nostalgia does not make a good show! There were really interesting episodes with a good story behind it, but it got VERY heavy into terminology and history half way through. I am just awful at remembering names, places, terms etc. which is made worse by the chunk watching. This is not a show to watch lightly because it’s very easy to get lost and when that happens it becomes really hard to enjoy. Another thing that I thought was both good and bad is the fact that a lot of characters just disappear. I love that they have the guts to just remove characters from the story and not introduce some Deus Ex Machina so that no one will be sad. If you’re gonna go for it, really go for it! On the other hand… I was sad. Not only did some characters I liked disappear, but I don’t think I’m a huge fan of the wide time span of the show. It starts off with the characters as younger children then keeps jumping forward in time. I found it hard to really connect with a character to keep me invested in watching it.

I guess I did the complaints first, so now for the positives. I’ve been following new anime for years and this show really does stand out. It looks beautiful and the story is really fleshed out. There is no bimbo character with huge boobs, as is the trend among many anime, and there are no girls with inhumanly high pitched voices to irritate my ear drums. This was a more… mature show, which I really liked, and I rarely if ever felt my intelligence being insulted. If you don’t mind putting in a little work for this one, I think it will be worth the watch. It’s ranked 97th right now on MAL and for good reason. If my ability to retain terminology was higher I’m sure this would have gotten an 8/10 because I really enjoyed the first half.

Verdict: 7/10

The Thing (1982)

A weird thing happened when I watch The Thing… I actually enjoyed myself. Talk about a smart, cool, horror thriller mystery film. I’m sure it’s possible that I missed a big “WTF?!” moment, but the characters acted like real people. “Holy shit, what is that? Get the flamethrower and burn it… BURN IT!!!” Then the head dislodged from the guy’s body and tried to crawl away, and I’m thinking “Oh no, guys turn around right now!” and they did! They turned around, saw the head and burned it like no severed head has ever been burned before. They didn’t have to rely on that cheap trick where a part of the alien gets away and we kinda forget about it for a bit, then it comes back later to screw everyone in the movie. Instead that part was just a cool scene that showed us it’s one crazy alien that needs to be extra killed, and added an extra element to the story. I’m also going to applaud the writers because I had no idea who was turned and who wasn’t throughout the whole movie… this concept totally messes with your head. Aside from the great screenplay, this movie has incredibly amazing effects. It’s all puppets and makeup and WOW is it good. Even 30 years later it still looks believable. I can’t even imagine how they did some of the transformations because it’s so intricate. A movie just feels better to watch when everything is physically there and not CG.

Well I guess I need to come up with some complaints. Let’s see… I lost interest near the end when they discovered the spacecraft thing. I think I just enjoyed the mystery and suspense of them figuring out what was going on and who was turned, rather than the conclusion.  But the most obvious problem with this movie, and I think everyone would agree with me on this is that they shot a dog. They shot a dog! Not only did they shoot a dog, they axed a dog in the neck. I do not approve of dog killing, especially when they’re awesome huskies. That was almost enough for me to drop this a point but I let it slide… this time.

Verdict: 9/10