Category Archives: keepin’ it reel

If Midsommar Is Anything Like Hereditary, I’m Game

Hereditary is my favorite horror film to date.

If you haven’t seen it, I can’t go into detail as to why. Giving too much away will rob you of the mind-boggling, tension-building experience that’s part of what makes the film so sublime.

Here’s all you need to know: A family mourns the death of their matriarch. Toni Colette plays Annie, the mother, and she is nothing short of spectacular in this role. And lastly, you’ll cruise the first 90 minutes of the film with a steady dread, and then the last 30 minutes will really freak you the fuck out.

Hereditary, film

This isn’t a great film in comparison to other horror flicks. This is a great film, period. Beginning with framing, Aster sets up shots beautifully and in a way that gets you wondering what’s real and what’s not. Then there’s the eerie music and distinct sounds  brought to the forefront of the film to play a significant role. And finally, the cast, all of which are extraordinary, but it’s Toni Colette that will make you want to fake a trip to the bathroom. Fight the urge. Stay put. Hereditary is a beautiful, terrifying work of art.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that writer/director Ari Aster had created another could-be (hopefully will be) masterpiece.

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 5.41.49 PM

Straight from A24’s website, here’s the premise of Midsommar:

Dani and Christian are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart. But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing. From the visionary mind of Ari Aster comes a dread-soaked cinematic fairytale where a world of darkness unfolds in broad daylight.

It’s comforting to see a lot of similarities between Aster’s two films in Midsommar’s trailer alone, including the stunning visuals and ominous music.

You might’ve recognized Florence Pugh. She costarred with Maisie Williams (our beloved Arya in Game of Thrones) in The Falling in 2014. And she recently starred in Stephen Merchant’s comedy Fighting With My Family. She’s proven her talent over and over again, so I’ll be happy to see what she has to deliver in this film.

By the way…
If you too are a Florence Pugh fan, you’ll be happy to know that she’ll be playing Amy March in the remake of Little Women, starring Meryl Streep and due to be released Christmas 2019.

Whether or not Midsommar will be just as good doesn’t really matter actually. After Hereditary, I trust Aster. I believe in him. And I can’t wait to watch his new film.

Midsommar premieres in theaters July 3rd. 

 

Tagged , , ,

Horror Film Heaven

Holy horror flick. I’ve hit the motherlode.

I’ve just discovered Shudder, a streaming service that offers films guaranteed to make you–you guessed it–shudder.

Photo/Bloody-Disgusting

Photo/Bloody-Disgusting

(Well actually, I was told about the site by someone who knows my love for film, and how that love very much includes horror flicks. So, thank you, Alex!)

The website design is pretty awesome. It’s responsive and visually intriguing. You can browse the library, or you can look through collections that have been so aptly named. Some of my favorite: “Identity Crises,” “Slashics,” and “Zombie Jamboree.”

But are the films any good? Good question. And I don’t know. I literally just found out about this. So I’ll do my homework this week. But I will say, the site has been carefully curated by horror film aficionados. In other words, people who know their shit when it comes to horror flicks. Unlike on Netflix, most of the films seem to have average to above average ratings, which is a relief because anyone who likes horror films knows there are some really crappy ones out there.

Oh, and make sure you check out their Shudder.TV for continuous streaming. Yes, continuous as in “without interruption.”

You’re welcome, you freaks.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

So Wet and Hot this Summer

I’m a lover of farce. Perhaps it’s the kid in me, or my resistance to aging. Whatever it is, I like it. If you can’t laugh at silly shit, you suck.

I spotted Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix just as my epic Friends binge was coming to an end. And thank goodness because there’s nothing worse than trudging aimlessly through so many inaccurately rated films and TV series. I’m willing to try (almost) everything once, so I decided to watch the pilot episode.

It was—um—bizarre. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. I was in total Netflix purgatory. Fence-sitting, questioning whether I should stay or go. I know you’ve been there before. Oh what a dilemma.

I decided I would keep my distance for a couple of days. You know, to gather my thoughts, really contemplate what it was that I wanted out of this whole thing. Was I willing to commit? Or were my indecisiveness and lack of immediate enthusiasm signs of what would soon become a stale affair?

The following day I found I could stay as far away from Netflix as possible, but I could not stop thinking about the series. Thoughts of it swelled up in my head, until I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. So I brought it up in conversation. And I am ever so glad I did.

The series was a prequel to a movie that had come out in 2001. It seems Wet Hot American Summer, the movie, did not do too well at the time. Farce as it may be, perhaps people found it too goofy, too silly. Maybe people were still shaken up by the Y2K fiasco. Maybe our society has since evolved into having a better sense of humor. Maybe people aren’t as uptight? Were we uptight before? I don’t know I was only 16. And let’s be honest, I didn’t even know the movie existed.

No, I think what’s most fascinating about the series is that it casts the same actors it did 14 years ago. Think about that: A prequel airing 14 years later with the same actors. A prequel. Um, fuck yeah that’s pretty cool.

Oh, by the way, the movie covers in 97 minutes all the events that happen on the last day of camp. And yes, as the title suggests, the series covers the first day of camp in eight episodes.

And—with such an awesome cast, I would typically sit here and list who you can expect to see, but fuck that. You’ve got reason enough to watch it. Let the cast be an added bonus that you can see for yourself.

So yeah, I’m a lover of farce. For that fact alone I have enjoyed watching Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. If you’re intrigued, watch the movie first. Then go and watch the series and see how things fall into place.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Star Wars Staycation

starwarsforceawakensI am not a Star Wars geek. But since my love for film has progressed, I have developed an appreciation for George Lucas’ work. I mean, how can I not?

This weekend I’ve decided to stay in. There is too much work to be done, and there aren’t enough hours during the week to do it. But why not amp up my productivity by doing what we women do best? Multitasking.

So, tonight, as I sit on the couch, laptop where it belongs (on my lap, if you didn’t get that), and glass of wine at my side, my Star Wars marathon will begin.

I should be a newly transformed geek by Monday.

Tagged , , ,

Heels of Steel in Jurassic World

jurassic-world-bryce-dallas-howardLadies, think of the most comfortable pair of heels you own. Not your favorite pair, no. The most comfortable. I, personally, try to design my cocktail party outfit around my taupe-colored slingback peep-toes because they’re as comfortable as heels can be, and I’m sure I won’t be in tears by the end of the night.

Now imagine you’re in an amusement park filled with dinosaurs, one of which is literally hunting you down. You’re wearing this comfortable pair, and you’ve got to run and jump through dirt, mud, and some dino-feces here and there. I don’t know a single woman who would keep her shoes on at this point.

Please explain to me then, Director Colin Trevorrow, how you could possibly expect us to conceive that Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, Claire, would actually survive the whole jurassic ordeal wearing her nude pumps. I mean, without even a single twist of the ankle. And, let us not forget, she also outruns the T-Rex.

Where can I get these shoes? I’ll take one in every color.

Tagged , , ,

American Ultra Action-Packed So Tightly

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.12.47 PM

Ever wonder how the Bourne series would’ve turned out if Jason Bourne had been a chronic pothead?

Yeah, me neither. But it seems Director Nima Nourizadeh did. And he turned that thought into American Ultra, a film about a stoner whose world is rattled when he learns he’s an assassin, trained and now hunted down by the government.

With Jesse Eisenberg as the always-blitzed Mike Howell, we’re certain to get an interesting account of what it’s like to feel compelled to complete a secret mission when all you really want to do is smoke a joint and eat Funions. What a drag, dude. But hey, at least he’s got his stoner girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), he can count on. (And I’m sure K-Stew plays that role marvelously.)

Yes, this is The Bourne Identity with an adolescent twist–a series of “holy shit,” explosive action followed by a witty or otherwise amusing punchline. And though I’m not sure how kind it is to appeal to an already paranoid target audience with a comedy covered in conspiracy theory, I find the hybrid of genres interesting and look forward to checking it out.

Out in theaters August 21st.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

What Will Bradley Cooper Deliver in Aloha?

He scored high in Silver Linings Playbook (2012), The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), American Hustle (2013), and American Sniper (2014). Will he deliver another great performance in this romantic drama, or will we be saying “Aloha” to his stellar streak? (Sorry. Had to.)

Set to premiere in US theaters on May 29th.

Tagged , , ,

Netflix ratings are the pits

It may seem like blasphemy. After all, where would I be without Netflix? But it’s time to be fair and, well, honest: Netflix has the worst rating system I’ve ever known. netflix-tv-cropped

This could potentially turn into a serious problem if it is not addressed. How many people out there are sheep to this system? I for one can no longer stand idly by as so many people tune into the wrong material. Truth is, yes there are some great Netflix series, but there are many mediocre ones as well. And the same goes for the movies offered.

So how can you avoid becoming a victim of wasted time by means of a misleading movie or TV series rating? There are two ways, and both are quite simple:

  • Netflix Enhancer (less than $3/year) — This Google Chrome extension will allow you to get a second opinion. It will add ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB to each title on your Netflix platform.
  • Google Search (FREE) — Open a new tab on your browser, search “[movie title] review,” and see what comes up. Perhaps only movie nerds such as myself would be inclined to go through this trouble, but really I think the effort is worth it when making such a big decision.

So there you have it. By using one of the two easy options mentioned above, we can all begin this movement–one that will rescue us from wasting precious Netflix-binging time on low quality stuff.

Tagged , , , ,

Chef Creates the Perfect Blend

chef-screenshot

Featuring a food truck and a cross country road trip, Chef is the perfect blend of culture and gastronomy. And what could be better than a film about food? Well, a film about food with a great cast:

Jon Favreau, Iron Man trilogy & Couples Retreat

John Leguizamo, all Ice Age movies & Moulin Rouge

Bobby Cannavale, Blue JasmineWin Win

Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation & The Avengers

Dustin HoffmanThe Graduate & Rain Man

Sofía Vergara, “Modern Family”

Oliver Platt, X-Men: First Class 2012

Amy Sedaris, Puss in Boots Elf

And my personal favorite:
Robert Downey, Jr., Iron Man trilogy & Due Date

Tagged , , , , , , ,

My First Film Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Mixing wit and romance, “Slumdog Millionaire” proves to be a well-rounded story of survival, of overcoming obstacles in unfortunate circumstances to find a love that was once lost. Director Danny Boyle (“28 Days Later” and “Trainspotting”) and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (“The Full Monty”) come together and manage to create a film depicting the brutal experiences in the life of an orphaned child growing up in the slums of Mumbai while managing to keep the film lighthearted with its witty dialogue and humorous tone.

slumdog

Based on the novel by Vikas Swarup, this drama is based on Jamal Malik, played by Dev Patel (also in the 2007 British series “Skins”), a young boy from Mumbai. Jamal grew up in the slums, but he somehow manages to end up on India’s very own version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?—answering question after question correctly at that.

The film opens up with Jamal sitting in the “hot seat” with the show’s host making small talk, asking him where he is from and where he works. Upon discovering that Jamal is merely a chai wallah who serves tea at a call center, he pokes fun at the idea that this young man could possibly win the full lot of money—20 million rupee. Questions come and go, and the terrified Jamal has only used one “lifeline.” Suspicions of cheating are raised and, during the TV show’s overnight break, Jamal is tortured in interrogation to discover how he might know all the answers to the questions being given to him. The detective interrogating him cannot understand how Jamal could answer a question in reference to an American one hundred dollar bill but that he cannot correctly answer a question in reference to their own country without consulting the audience. Most of all, no one can understand what this “slumdog” wants with 20 million rupee, since it seems his motivation is not the money after all. The detective discovers this as well as he listens to Jamal’s story throughout the interrogation.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,