The Menu – Someone else’s movie review

One of my most anticipated movies of 2022 was The Menu. Now, that’s not saying much, because to be honest I don’t follow movies anymore and at this very moment I cannot name a single other movie that released last year. Based on that, you could probably even say that The Menu was my most anticipated movie of 2022.

So, I didn’t actually watch it until a couple months ago. And I’m not writing about it until a couple months after watching it. You would probably think that I didn’t like it all that much. Untrue! In fact, I thought that it was excellent! I just haven’t been a very good blogger in 2023.

I don’t know if the marketing for The Menu was bad, or purposely misleading, or I was just taking the wrong things from it, but the movie was not at all what I expected from commercials. In fact, one of the things that I liked most about it is that it actually kept me in suspense the entire time. Like, sure, it telegraphs some things, but for the most part I was very unsure of where it was going, and many of my preconceptions of how scenes would play out ended up being wrong.

That said, I’m actually going to continue being a poor blogger and not finish reviewing The Menu. No, rather I’m just going to embed an existing review by someone else. Because it’s right on point, and me trying to write my own review would quite likely amount to little more than me subconsciously regurgitating this one. Poorly. And that’s just as good as plagiarism.

I See You – A Movie Review?

Yesterday evening -or at least, at some point prior to this post going live- I watched a movie called I See You.

This was largely spurred on by the fact that I’ve spent too many nights watching let’s plays of horror games on YouTube over the last six years, and as such I’ve been completely desensitized to them. I decided that to slake my thirst for terror, I’d need to turn to professionally produced content, and so Netflix. I clicked on the first movie that seemed even vaguely interesting, and so I See You.

A 95-ish-minute-long film released in 2019, I See You is not a movie that I had so much as heard the title of previous to the evening in question. But, it was described as a dramatic film wherein a detective is investigating murders and spooky things begin happening, so I was like, yeah, okay, I can dig on this. Little did I know!

As I sit here typing, and pondering what I am about to type, my mind is weirdly overcome by the thought of how my ex-wife’s eyes would have lit up at that plot summary.

I am a sad fellow. But pay that no heed. This is a movie review!

I See You follows the story of a small, dysfunctional suburban family. The husband, a cop on the trail of a child abductor. The wife, a therapist (I think?) who has recently cheated on her spouse. The son, trying to cope with the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. We learn these details pretty much right out of the gate, and that’s basically all that that they are for the entire duration of the film.

I may have made a poor selection.

Continue reading I See You – A Movie Review?

Nine Years at Freddy’s

The original Five Nights at Freddy’s video game was released in August of 2014. I don’t remember when it was first announced that a movie adaptation was in the works, but let’s say it wasn’t long after. So roughly nine long years later, it’s finally going to happen. Finally.

The jury’s obviously still out on whether it’s going to be good or not, but you know, it sure seems like it’s going to make me happy. We’ve got security cameras, we’ve got a sneaky li’l Balloon Boy drawing, we’ve got murdered children (presumably) stuffed into animatronic suits, we’ve got a big ol’ menacing Springtrap. What else could you even ask for?

Oh, a coherent plot? Relatable characters? Yeah, I guess those are things that FNAF hasn’t really had (albeit usually on purpose) in the video games space. But the novel trilogy, while not really to my taste, did have those things, so I’m not terribly worried on that front. Plus, like I said up above, this thing has been cooking for nine-ish years. It had better at least be decent with the amount of time and money that have been invested into it!

If absolutely nothing else, I’ll finally get to see a real, physical Freddy Fazbear animatronic running amok for a while. And that’s all I’ve ever really wanted.

Desire: A Follow-up

You know that meme, “how it started/how it’s going”? I’m doing that today, but in text form!

Basically, I just want to take a quick look back at my “24 Days of Desire” feature and see how many of them have been fulfilled. It’s been almost a year now, I should have been able to get everything I wanted, right? Let’s see!

Day 1: Television – This was about me wanting to have cable, and if I recall correctly, it was specifically so I could watch the Chucky series. Well, I never got cable, because that would be stupid, and I still haven’t watched Chucky, because I don’t pirate TV shows or movies any more. Chucky is also on Paramount+, which has other things I want to watch, so I’m thinking about a subscription to that… But probably won’t bother.

Day 2: A better GPU – Ain’t got this. I’ve heard that prices are going down, but I haven’t bothered to look in many months. Besides, I only wanted it to beef up my Quest 2, so it’s right down at the bottom of my priority ladder.

Day 3: Star Wars sequels box set – I haven’t looked to see if this exists, and I don’t actually care enough to check. This was a filler episode, for sure.

Continue reading Desire: A Follow-up

Movieween 2022 Round-Up

Full disclosure: I have not been a very good Halloween turbofan this year. While I have leaned into it pretty hard on the ol’ YouTube channel, that’s really the most I’ve done. My condo is scarcely decorated – all that’s out are a Halloween Pumpkaboo plush and a dish towel with skellingtons on it. I’ve also been way behind on watching any season-appropriate films or television programs. But I did manage to sneak in a couple movies. Here are my short reviews of them!

The Devil Below

The Devil Below is about a rag-tag group of scientists who set out to explore an old coal mine that had caught fire and been abandoned decades earlier. They’re not only in search of what caused the mine to catch fire, but also why the surrounding town had been abandoned and completely wiped off the map. Led by a spunky, uh… tour guide/bounty hunter/supermodel, it’s not long before they discover that there’s something a little more sinister lurking below the surface.

I’ll start off by saying that this film has an 8% Rotten Tomatoes score. Yikes! That’s especially dire! I didn’t think it was all that bad, though. Or… was it? I’m sitting here and struggling to think of positive things to say about it. The main character, played by Alicia Sanz, was pretty cool. Though her acting was a bit stiff; I’m not sure if that was a choice to make the character more aloof or simply bad acting. The movie managed to hold my interest for the most part – I may have picked up my phone here and there, but it’s not like I had my Switch in hand at any point.

Onto the bad! Personally, I kind of hated the monster designs. Not that they’re necessarily bad. But they’re supposed to be this advanced race of insect-like creatures and they just look like people with oversized lamprey masks and claws. I appreciate that most/all the effects were practical, but the creature design didn’t really seem to fit the lore, especially since the boss monster resembles a termite queen. Although I suppose that “too anthropomorphic” isn’t the worst thing you can say about a monster design. On the upside, they did wait a very long time to give viewers a decent look at the creatures. Way to show restraint, director!

Other than that, the story was very paint-by-numbers, none of the other characters were endearing in the least, and it was much too dark throughout. Most importantly, there’s no satisfying resolution to anything. I’d like to know more about the creatures other than “they’re kinda like ants or bees”. I’d have liked to see more of the background story of the miners initially fighting off the creatures and sealing them away. I’d like to know why this allegedly superior race isn’t popping up anywhere else in the world. I mean, they live underground and eat people. How could they have survived for decades trapped in a burning coal mine with no food? Cannibalism, presumably, but that’s not a fun answer and would realistically only take a species so far.

Upon reflection, yeah, The Devil Below is not a good movie. But I didn’t feel strongly either way about it while I was watching it and I certainly didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time watching it. I also think that the 8% approval rating is a bit harsh. I’d say it’s more deserving of something in the 15%-20% range.

There’s Someone Inside Your House

Let’s begin with a fun fact: Actress Jesse LaTourette is in both this movie and The Devil Below. I did not recognize that it was the same actress, and probably would have gone my whole life without learning that fun little coincidence had I not been Googling these films to learn their casts’ names.

And that’s probably the most interesting thing I have to say about There’s Someone Inside Your House.

I called The Devil Below paint-by-numbers, but that almost seems unfair when you compare it to There’s Someone Inside Your House. This is the most boring, uninspired, cliché-driven movie that I have watched in a long time. Tears! I was bored to them! Well, not like, literal tears, but my soul was weeping. Because not 15 minutes in, I realized that I was watching Teen Revenge Slasher #3087 and I felt despair fill my gut. Sure, I could have simply turned the movie off, but I foolishly held out hope. And instead of rewarding me, There’s Someone Inside Your House just took a dump in my living room. Again, not literally.

Here’s the plot synopsis: Teens are getting murdered in a Middle American town, and it’s up to our gang of misfits to try to figure out who it is before they all get killed themselves. Sound familiar? YUUUP. If that had been Netflix’s synopsis, I would never have pressed play. Instead, they gave me hope by telling me that James Wan (Insidious) and Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) produced it. This is a cautionary tale to not watch things just because people who’ve made things that you like are involved!

I’ll go ahead and say that I didn’t much care for anything about this movie, but the most egregious part by far is that I didn’t really understand the killer’s motivation. He does a big ol’ exposition dump at the end, and I kinda get that end goal was to kill his dad in a huge, cinematic fashion, but then… what about all the teens who died along the way? I guess the idea is that he’d cracked and decided to just kill anyone who’d done something bad, but eh… it just rings hollow. If your plan is to expose people’s nasty secrets to the rest of the town, why not just do that? Why go the extra mile to murder them? Wouldn’t it be worse to have to live with their horrible secrets revealed? I guess the severity varies by character, but whatever, I still didn’t like it.

What mystifies me the most is that There’s Someone Inside Your House has a 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating!? The most bland, derivative movie I’ve watched in recent memory, and it’s got that much better a rating than The Devil Below? Really??? While I didn’t much care for The Devil Below, I did feel like I wanted my 1 hour and 36 minutes back after watching There’s Someone Inside Your House. And if that’s not the most damning criticism, I don’t know what is.

Okay, so maybe I did end up having some more interesting things to say. Who knew!?

Silent Hill

Nothing new to say here, I would think. Seen this movie probably a half-dozen times, but I haven’t watched it in a decade, at least. And with the announcement of a new SH movie in the works, I figured now was the perfect time to revisit it.

But first, a short aside: As this movie came out in the stone age, I still have a copy on DVD, and that’s how I watched it. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a DVD, and I’d actually forgotten that they used to put ads before movies. What wild times those were!

If you had asked me before, I would have told you that in my opinion, Silent Hill is the best live-action video game movie. I know it’s a low bar to clear, but I always really liked this one. If you asked me now? Well, it’s hard to say. I was a little bit high when I was watching this, and also texting with a potential date throughout most of it, and also I fell asleep for the last half-hour or so. So it would be hard to say that I really watched Silent Hill, and as such, I don’t have a revised opinion to provide. Here are a few random thoughts, though!

Sean Bean is in it a lot more than I remembered. Like, he’s got a whole B plot where he’s trying to figure out where the heck Rose and Sharon went to. I knew he was involved at the beginning and end, but no, he’s got scenes all throughout the film. And yet still I can’t remember what his character’s name is!

Most of what I did remember are the parts of the movie that are closely based on the game(s). The general plot, the sequence where Rose is wandering through the alleys and gets attacked by the monster kids, how half of the monsters are actually from Silent Hill 2, stuff like that. Anything that was originally introduced for the movie? Basically all new to me. Except for the part where Pyramid Head rips off that one girl’s skin. That moment will forever be burned into my nightmares.

I really dislike how the movie grinds to a halt for a 10-minute exposition sequence. It’s really bad and I can’t fathom that nobody involved in the production could come up with a better alternative.

So, I’ll probably have to watch Silent Hill again soon, but with a little more focus. I have no intent of revisiting Silent Hill: Revelation though, as I didn’t much care for that one.

24 Days of Desire (9): Son of Godzilla

Here’s a little-known fact about me: I have a collection of all of the (live action) Godzilla movies on either DVD or Blu-ray. Well, almost all of them. There happens to be one that I’m missing, and that’s because for some reason it’s very rare and thus unbelievably expensive. You’ve read the post title, but I guess I should reiterate that the one film in question is Son of Godzilla.

Continue reading 24 Days of Desire (9): Son of Godzilla

24 Days of Desire (3): Star Wars sequels box set

I have a really nice box set of the first six Star Wars movies on Blu-ray.

Sorry, I have to stop here to make an aside about how I very much dislike the fact that Blu-ray is a proper name and requires capitalization.

*ahem* It would be nice if I could slide in another little box that housed the sequel trilogy right next to it. Alas, there is currently no such thing! And probably never will be! The proliferation of digital media has absolutely crushed the market for movies printed on physical media. And also Disney is absolutely not going to sell you three movies in a box when they can make you buy all three separately.

Continue reading 24 Days of Desire (3): Star Wars sequels box set

Spooktober Movie-Watch Round-Up 2021 – Week 3

~ Venom ~
~ Venom: Let There Be Carnage ~

I think that in this age where everything streams digitally, we all have “to-watch” lists a kilometer long. I am certainly no exception. My Netflix queue is always growing, contracting only when something I’ve been putting off watching is removed from the service. However, this past weekend, I was finally able to remove Venom from said queue.

Venom is… well, it’s a Marvel movie. It seemed to fly under the radar when it was released because it’s an anti-hero movie, and also it didn’t tie into the MCU in any way. Venom’s story has always been very closely tied in with Spider-Man, but in his starring role, he’s got absolutely no connection to everyone’s favourite web-slinger.

Despite all that, though, it absolutely has the same feel as any other Marvel origin movie. It follows all the same plot beats, our hero is defined by his snarkiness, and it’s a massive cornucopia of special effects. So you pretty much know exactly what you’re in for, and whether or not you’re gong to like it before you’ve seen even a second of the actual footage.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage also feels like a pretty cookie-cutter sequel. The headbutting duo (reporter Eddie Brock and space-parasite Venom) that learned to work together to save the world in the first film find it too difficult to continue their partnership, and end up going their separate ways. That is, of course, until another evil shows up that threatens them both, which forces them to put aside their differences and discover that they truly make a great team.

Honestly, I don’t quite know what else to say about these movies. I think they’re considered to be C-tier Marvel movies, but I would say that I enjoyed them just as much as any Iron Man. Maybe even more! I couldn’t even tell you what Iron Man 2 was about. And when I say that, I mean immediately after having walked out of the movie theatre. So yes, I would recommend the Venom movies. They are perfectly adequate!

~ Halloween Kills ~

You know what’s the absolute worst thing? An unnecessary sequel. And, I get it, lots of sequels are unnecessary. Probably 95% of them are made it hopes of cashing in on a film or game or book or whatever that made a lot of money. But at the very least, most of those at least put some effort into being entertaining. What I’m talking about are the unnecessary sequels that don’t even try to validate their existence.

Halloween Kills is exactly one of those movies.

Now, I know what you’re going to say. “But Ryan, every slasher sequel is a soulless cash grab!” But that’s not true! Many of them up the stakes! Or throw in some fun/”fun” new lore. Usually they try to come up with creative new ways to slaughter people. At the absolute minimum, they amp up the amount of naked boobies. But Halloween Kills doesn’t really do any of that.

I think what mostly makes me mad about this one is that 2018’s Halloween reboot/sequel thing was just about the perfect way to close the book on the franchise. It completely ignored every movie except for the original (which is still great), and focused on Laurie Strode’s crippling PTSD from what happened that horrific night. I mean, there was a lot of nonsense in that one too, but the finale alone was worth it.

Halloween Kills ruins it all by basically undoing the end of the previous movie by taking place immediately afterward, and of course, putting good ol’ Michael Myers back into the fray. And it makes the entire town of Haddonfield completely obsessed with the whackjob that killed four teenagers 40 years ago. It’s kind of an interesting take on mob mentality and the dangers of misinformation, but it still doesn’t make any damn sense. Laurie has a very good reason to be terrified and mentally scarred by what she went through. The rest of the town… probably would have mostly forgotten about it by now. Unless Haddonfield is one of those itty-bitty hick towns where everyone is related, but it doesn’t seem that way.

I don’t know. I didn’t hate it while I was watching it, and it didn’t necessarily bore me, but it also didn’t do anything really special or entertaining. It wasn’t entertainingly corny or funny in the least. There were no creative kills. There are at least two subplots that exist entirely to pad out the run time. The ending sets up yet another sequel. And the more I think about it, the more I dislike it. Obviously, can’t recommend this one. In fact, I might even suggest that you should deliberately avoid it.