Sunday, July 23, 2017

30 Days of Night (2007)

So I actually really love 30 Days of Night and I can't believe I've never written a review on it before.  This afternoon, my husband took our son out, giving me a much-needed break, and as I flipped through the channels, this movie was just about to start on SyFy.  I've been furiously writing recaps lately (this time, The Mist) with hopes of getting that part of my blog back up and running again, but it will be nice to review a movie I've already seen a few times.

30 Days of Night is about the town of Barrow, Alaska, where every year in the winter, that have 30 days of night.  This movie actually wasn't shot in Alaska, but rather in New Zealand.  Eben Oleson (Josh Harrnett) is the town's sheriff, and his estranged wife, Stella (Melissa George), unwillingly becomes stranded in town when she misses the last plane out.  Meanwhile, a stranger (Ben Foster) approaches the town.  Eben gets called to various locations in town due to people finding phones, helicopters and dogs ripped to bits.  Of course, that's followed by people getting shredded up as well.

And this all comes back to...vampires!  These are not shiny True Blood or Twilight vampires.  They're gnarly and have scary teeth and nails and their own language.  Will the residents of Barrow survive a month of vampires besieging their town?

Honestly, I think this movie rocks.  Good vampire movies are few and far between, and this one had both a cool setting and a good cast.  Not to mention awesome makeup and special effects.  And you know what, Josh Hartnett is BAE, and I don't care what anyone thinks.  This gets the thumbs up from Scream Queen.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Mist (TV Series) - Season 1, Episode 3 - "Show and Tell"

So things at the church are looking pretty boring, I guess to be expected.  Kevin and Adrian muse about the possibility that everyone they know is dead, but Kevin spots a car that they hope Mia can hotwire.

Back at the mall, things aren't much better.  Alex is going through a ton of shit, not the least of which is being trapped in the mall with the guy who allegedly raped her (Jay).  The useless mall manager, Gus, and a security guy help Jay cut down the people who hung themselves.  Ensuring they will truly upset everyone, they wheel the dead bodies right through the crowd, announcing that the deceased are members of the Army.  Gus laments about how leaving the dead bodies in the mall will shut down the food court for life.  Nice thinking, bro! No one cares about the longevity of the stupid food court.

At the church, Nathalie is waxing poetic about nature and her conspiracy theories, which will probably all mean something later, but no one will pay attention.  Kevin tries to reason with Connor to let him, Mia, Kyle and Adrian leave to go to the mall, but Connor insists that Kyle and Mia are still prisoners, and tosses them in the basement instead.  Mia is still looking for pulls, and Kyle gives in, as well as unlocking her handcuffs, seemingly all as a promise of future trust.

Kevin is still all about busting out Mia, but Adrian is wary, now that she's been accused of murder.  Turns out she can hotwire a car, and the escape plan is on.  Adrian speaks to the priest, pointing out that God doesn't love him because he is gay.  The priest, surprisingly, asserts that being gay is not a sin.  Connor steps in, accusing Adrian of the sin of lying by saying Jay raped Alex.  Adrian stands by his claim, and Connor confronts Kevin, saying that Alex "sleeps around" like her mother, Eve.  And now, Kevin's in the basement with the people he planned on rescuing.  Ooops.

At the mall, the game store guys have plotted to use the dead bodies as bait to see what type of creatures arrive.  Eve and Alex planned to set up a new "camp," far away from Jay.  But Jay follows Alex into a store, telling a story about how he put her to sleep in a room alone, but did not rape her.  He weirdly touches her hand and "doesn't hurt her" as proof, and Alex seems conflicted.

At the church, Nathalie says her goodbyes and plans to go home.  You know, through the mist and everything.  The man she was chatting with earlier (I can't figure out his name?) follows her out, and gets inhabited by moths.  Nathalie decides to stay in the church after all, since she's now "seen God," much to the shock of the priest.

At the mall, the game store guys are in trouble for their little corpse experiment, and Gus decides there needs to be rules.  And while I understand Eve's concern about Alex's maybe-rapist, I don't know that moving them to a secluded area of the mall is the best plan.  At the church, I thought Adrian was just distracting the priest with the whole God chat but it seems like he might be serious, as he requests to be baptized.  At the mall, as soon as they start writing the rules down, people immediately splinter off into a "move out" group, that are not going to follow the rules.  Jay begs Alex to stay, and Eve whips out a gun.

At the church, a weird teenage baptism is going on in the midst of all of this.  And FUCKING A YES, it WAS a cover, as Adrian steals the keys!  Basement escape in 3, 2, 1....

At the mall, people release balloons with SOS notes on them.  It's praised as a great idea, but I'm not so sure.  Balloons in the mist doesn't seem so brilliant to me.  Until next ep!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Mist (TV Series) - Season 1, Episode 2 - "Withdrawal"

Police Chief Connor Heisel aka Jay's dad (Darren Pettie) has decided to say f it to the poor suckers at the police station, and hightailed it out of there, leaving them behind and almost immediately hitting a moose.  That's what you get for being an asshole, right?  Post-husband's death, Nathalie has taken refuge in the church.  Meanwhile, in the mall, Eve and Alex are being questioned by the mall manager.  All the people here seem to have way too much faith in the incompetent police force coming to save the day. I'm pretty sure they're all dead or hitting moose at this point.  The mall manager determines that locking the (glass) mall doors will keep everything out.

Back at the police station, Mia searches the evidence room for opiates.  Kyle agrees to not tell Kevin about her addiction, if she doesn't take any pills.  Kimmi, Eve and Alex are assigned to lock a set of doors, and on their way back, they spot a dead man in a restricted area that is filled with mist.  Eve reports it to the mall manager, who brightens at the mention of Homeland Security-issued radios, until he realizes they reside in the wing that is now filled with mist.  Womp womp.

Back at the police station, Kevin, Kyle, Mia and Adrian run into the mist to get into a police car.  They drive away without incident, for now.  The mall people. already becoming reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead, use a drone to investigate the mist-filled wing.  They determine the mist entered through an open window, and find a dead body, which consequently causes the drone to be stuck in blood.

For some reason, the jail crew chooses Mia to drive, even though it's quite obvious that she's withdrawing hardcore.  She almost immediately crashes the car while trying to avoid a carjacking, and the windows begin to crack and expose them to the mist.  They, too, find refuge in the church, where of course they find the police chief that deserted them.

Back at the mall, Eve's name gets drawn to go into the mist and body-filled administrative wing.  Luckily, someone volunteers to accompany her.  Not the mall manager, who is awful, but Clint, who we know little about.  Poor Mia is going through withdrawal in a church, which seems like a horrible place to go through that.  Back at the mall, Clint calls for "Arrowhead" on the radio, which was the badge on Kyle's shirt.  Significance!  Eve gets freaked and tries to run, grabbing his gun in the process, and ultimately shooting him.  She runs back to the mist with her newfound firearm, but nothing to report on the contacting help front.

Eve lies, saying that she and Clint lost each other in the hall, and says the radio didn't work.  At the church, Nathalie is busting out the communion wine, saying she wants to make a toast to her deceased husband.  She actually tells a really lovely story about them meeting as young, broke hippies and never losing their love of making spaghetti and drinking cheap wine.  The narc police chief comes around and nabs Adrian for "underage drinking," throwing in a jab at Alex's rape in the process.

At the mall, Jay goes to use the bathroom and finds Clint's friends, who no one has ever seen before, hanging in the bathroom.  At the church, Kyle admits to Mia that he saw her mother in the mist as well!

The Mist (TV Series) - Season 1, Episode 1 - "Pilot"

When this blog was running full speed (something I'm trying to get back to again), TV show recaps were some of my most popular and searched posts.  Writing TV recaps is time-consuming, but reading them is awesome.  It's great to see people's views on different shows and episodes, and notice things that you may have missed.  So just a reminder, my recaps are full-on recaps, and not reviews, so spoilers abound!

The Mist was already a movie, but turns out we need a TV show too!  This one is not a remake of the novella and movie, but a re-imagination.  In the town of Bridgeton, Maine, there is a lot going on.  Eve Copeland (Alyssa Sutherland) is being put on administrative leave from her teaching job.  Kyle (Romaine Waite) is horrified in the woods as an unknown entity attacks his dog.  Alex (Gus Birney) deals with teenage angst and a crush on the high school quarterback (Jay) along with her gay best friend Adrian (Russell Posner).  Mia (Danica Kuric) is beaten for "information", and then returns home to her mother's abandoned house to retrieve money and identification, before being pursued by police.  She and Kyle both end up in jail together.

Jay (Luke Cosgrove) invites Alex to a party to celebrate the team's win, and dad Kevin (Morgan Spector) agrees that she can attend, as long as she goes with Adrian.  Eve was against her daughter attending the party, and unfortunately, the events take a dark turn as Alex is drugged and raped.    Eve, furious at Kevin for allowing Alex to attend the ill-fated party, prepares to take Alex to go stay at her sister's, and she insists that Kevin stays behind.  Jay is arrested for the crime he is accused of, but the police assure him that all will be fine.

As Kevin and Adrian are at the police station, the mist rolls in from the mountain, just as Nathalie Raven (Frances Conroy) researches the recent mass exodus of animals at the library,  Officer Pundik goes to take selfies in the mist and is attacked by large bugs.  As Nathalie and her husband exit the library into the mist, which they believe to be reminiscent of a romantic weekend they spent on the lake, they are attacked by a man demanding to know if they are real.  The man ends up shooting her husband, and then himself, claiming it's hard to know what is real.

When Kevin goes back into the police station to retrieve Adrian, he hears Mia and Kyle yelling to be released.  Eve gets confronted by an angry mom in the pharmacy as Alex seethes in the car, which begins to be covered in mist.  Alex and her mom rush inside to safety and the bitchy mom gets her due as she runs outside despite their warnings.  The dramas rage on, as Jay is at the mall with Alex and Eve, and Mia saves Kevin from someone attacking him after returning from the mist.

Wow, writing pilot recaps is hard because you don't know any of the characters yet, and I had to keep googling and toggling to IMDB and Wikipedia to keep track of everything!  This show looks pretty cool so far, and I'm going to have a few of these ready in a row since I'm behind on the season already.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Anarchy Parlor (2015)

Full disclosure: I one-hundred percent chose Anarchy Parlor because of Robert LaSardo.  I might be the only Nip/Tuck fan in the room here, but come on, it's Escobar, guys!  I'm definitely more excited than I should be.

So, onto Anarchy Parlor, which is about a group of twenty-somethings traveling throughout Europe and making a stop in Lithuania.  One of them (Brock, naturally) is wearing a shirt that says "Swag All Day" so you know he's going to be the first to die.  The trouble begins when Amy (Tiffany DeMarco) takes off with Brock and his love interest Uta (Sara Fabel) to go get a tattoo by the famous "Artist."  Now I love tattoos and random adventures, but even I would shy away from going to some random tattoo parlor in Lithuania in the middle of the night.

But of course, they're not at a regular tattoo parlor, this is Ink Master: Hostel Edition.  The Artist is oddly obsessed with Amy, even though he seems to resent both tourists and Americans.  Although everyone in this movie continues to scream "fuck you," "why" and "you're sick," the Artist and Uta are unfazed.  And there are many more screams to come.

This was the directorial debut of Devon Downs and Kenny Gage, who also wrote the script, and it was actually filmed in Lithuania.  Fuck yeah, authenticity!  Also, the woman who plays Uta is LEGIT.  She's a Finnish model and tattoo artist who lives in California -- badass and smokin hot to boot.  I actually liked this movie, according to IMDB, that's an unpopular opinion, but screw that. If you want sex, gore, and tattoos, while not taking any of it too seriously, this is your movie.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Shallows (2016)

Why is this called The Shallows?  Because guess what bitches?  You don't only have to fear sharks in deep water, turns out they can be in shallow water too.  So let's all head out to the beach, I'm sure it will be fine.

So, Nancy (Blake Lively), in the first of what I'm sure will be many bad decisions, heads to a secret, nameless beach by herself, leaving her hungover friend back at the hotel.  She gets a ride there from some random dude and then seems to think she's going to get an Uber back?  From a secluded beach?  I'm already annoyed.  Extra points for the cool surfing scenes though.  When her newfound surfing buddies call it a day, she stupidly stays out on the water by herself, even though she's now totally alone with no way of getting back.

So, as the previews and summary explain (so no spoilers), Nancy is stuck on a rock, fairly close to shore, with a shark stalking her and no rescue in sight.  It's hot, it's cold, there's wounds, there's fire coral, there's an injured seagull, and there is one badass shark.

Honestly, I was preparing myself to fully hate on this movie because of her dumb initial decisions, but this movie was pretty damn cool.  The shark was really realistic and the underwater scenes were harrowing.  And don't get me started on her leg wound, yikes.  And the swimming in the jellyfish...yoooo.  So I guess the lesson here is, don't judge an entire movie by it's heroine's behavior at the beginning.

I'm actually surprised at how well Blake Lively carried this entire movie on her own -- apparently she was inspired by her husband Ryan Reynold's performance in Buried, which was an awesome film also!

Get Out (2017)

I have not heard one negative thing about this movie since it was released in theaters, and I was really looking forward to watching it. This movie has everything - creepiness, horror, humor (seriously, the TSA friend!) and racial commentary at a time where it's very applicable.  Fun fact: the title was based on one of of Eddie Murphy's jokes where white people stay in haunted houses, while black people hear "GET OUT" and leave immediately.

For those who have missed the hype around this movie, a short summary.  Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) has been invited to visit his girlfriend Rose's (Allison Williams) family.  It's notable, obviously, that Chris is black and Allison and her family are white.  It's creepy right from the start, with the zombie-like hired help (who are the only non-white people to be seen), the parents' behavior, and brother Jeremy's immediate challenging of Chris.  Allison claims Chris is the first black man she's brought home, and he chalks up the strangeness to racial isolation of sorts.

But things get creepier, with all the weird neighbors asking strange questions during a party, and the groundskeeper and housekeeper shutting down as Chris tries to befriend them.  Another black man at the party also acts oddly, and Chris is on edge.  Of course this all leads down a veritable rabbit hole of craziness, peppered by the hysterical comic relief of Chris's friend Rod (LilRel Howery).

I was scanning through the IMDB trivia after watching and realized I missed tons of little things and symbolisms and will have to go back and watch it again.  This movie stuck with me too, I kept revisiting scenes days after I watched it.  Awesome idea, great concept, excellent acting, and yes, a heavy helping of racial commentary at a time when racial tensions are at a peak.  Well done, Jordan Peele.