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.

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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.

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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.

Spooktober Movie-Watch Round-Up 2021 – Week 2

~ Run ~

As I browse through Netflix’s library of horror films, I come across the image of a wheelchair-bound girl in what appears to be a well-lit, but slightly distorted grocery store. I wonder if this can’t be a mistake and maybe the film was tagged with the wrong genre. Alas! Run is definitely a horrifying film, and one that I found surprisingly enjoyable.

Run is the story of a young woman, Chloe, who lives out in the bush with her mother. Chloe has a long list of physical ailments. All of them, probably. And the story really kicks off when she discovers that the labels on her pill bottles are fake, and those bottles were originally prescriptions for her mother. From that point, she begins to wonder about what kind of medications she’s being given, and really her whole life situation.

The paragraph above covers roughly the first ten minutes of the film, and I honestly don’t want to write another word about what happens afterward. I’ll go ahead and say it now: Run is an excellent movie and I 100% think that you should make some time to watch it as soon as possible. Maybe even right after you’re done reading this post!

Run‘s strengths are twofold. Firstly, the two lead actresses are amazing. They do an incredible job of selling their characters, and Kiera Allen in particular was fantastic throughout. Secondly: the pacing is perfect. Normally, more grounded movies like this kind of bore me and I end up half-watching while noodling on my phone, but once the short setup was out of the way, the ball started rolling and never lost steam. The tension in the basement scene before the climax was thick enough to clobber someone with, and from that point on, I don’t think I blinked once until the credits started to roll.

I don’t know if it’ll be the one that I enjoy the most, but I have a strong feeling that Run will be the actual best film that I watch this Halloween season. Again, I highly recommend this one.

~ The Girl With All The Gifts ~

Content warning: This is a zombie movie, and I know that those are more uncool that ever these days. So if you’ve got a bias against the walking dead, then maybe just skip this mini-review.

When I read Netflix’s one-liner description of The Girl With All The Gifts, I figured, okay, it’s probably a pretty stock-standard zombie flick. But I haven’t watched one of those in years, so might as well! And because this has become part of my movie vetting process, I also looked up the Rotten Tomatoes score, which was a surprisingly high 88%! So off I went.

First thing to note: This movie has very similar high-level plot points to the video game The Last of Us. Firstly: the zombies in this film are created via fungal infection, not some random flesh-rotting disease. I actually like the ‘shroom zombies a lot better, because it kinda-sorta has a basis in reality, if you squint really hard and plug your ears and go LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU SCIENCE. Secondly: the movie is about protecting a young lady whose brain can be harvested to create a vaccine for the infection. Well, sort of.

Now, of course nothing ever works out in this kind of movie, and The Girl With All The Gifts is no different. No more than 20 minutes in, everything goes to hell as zombies swarm the super-secure military base where the vaccine-brain girl (Melanie) and a host of other children being held. Melanie, a few soldiers, and the doctor that wants to harvest Melanie’s brain escape and head out towards another super-secure military base. Spoiler, it continues to not go well.

It’s clear from the beginning that something is not quite normal about Melanie and her schoolyard chums. Halfway through the movie, we learn that she was born a mushroom-zombie, as she was still gestating when her mother was infected. “Second-generation” zomboes like her are somehow able to retain their intelligence, but still succumb quite easily to the desire to devour living flesh. Eventually this all culminates with Melanie having to choose between helping to protect humanity, or to side with the children of the ‘shrooms and become the next dominant species on Earth.

While I can’t say I was 100% invested in this one, I did quite like it. It messes around with a bunch of the hoary, old zombie tropes enough to feel unique, but then also plays every other zombie trope completely straight. But I did think that the twist on the usual character relationships (bolstered by the excellent cast) really did elevate it over the typical zombie fare. I can’t think of any other movie that had humans working together with a zombie who has access to her full mental faculties. There have to have been some! But I don’t believe that I’ve seen any.

The point I’m getting around to, though, is that yes, I would recommend The Girl With All The Gifts. Unless you’re one of those people who immediately writes off anything with zombies. This movie does an okay job of trying to be different, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near different enough to change hearts and minds that are clouded by discrimination.

Note: While looking up the poster, I learned that this film is based on a book, which probably explains why it’s been received better than most of its peers. Now where’s my Monster Island movie, dammit!?

Spooktober Movie-Watch Round-Up 2021 – Week 1

2021 has been speeding by at an unprecedented rate. It seems like last week it was May and then suddenly it’s the BEST DARN SEASON OF THE YEAR, and I’m not going to let it just shimmy on by! And so, I have begun breaking out the spooky-type movies in FULL FORCE to get m’self in the mood. I mean, it’s not like there’s anyone else around here with which to get any other kind of moods going…

Anyway! Horror movies! 2021! Let’s go!

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The 15-Year Reconciliation

Do you remember way, way back in the “early” days of this website, when I used to get really excited about finding and reviewing surprise bags? Honestly, the only reason I don’t still do it is because I haven’t seen a good surprise bag in ages. But that’s besides the point.

One of the most memorable things I’ve written (at least to me), was a review of a nondescript surprise bag that I found in a local dollar store in a nearby city. The variety of items contained in that bag was wild and shocking. Well-aged Spanish Tic-Tac knockoffs. Dubious “Dubu” gum. Some trading cards and stickers from a movie called Baby that I’d never heard of.

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The Banana Splits Movie

I don’t know about you, but I’d never heard of The Banana Splits until recently. I guess maybe, for once, I’m too young.

For the uninitiated, it was a live-action variety show produced by Hanna-Barbera in the late 1960’s that starred four large, costumed animal characters. It lasted two seasons but stayed in syndication until the 80s. Last year, somebody turned it into a horror-comedy movie. This movie (and the franchise in general) was only brought to my attention about two months ago, when I watched a YouTube video comparing it to Willy’s Wonderland and how the latter looked like it would avoid a lot of the problems that The Banana Splits Movie suffered from.

Thank goodness I watched that video, though, because my soul would be so much emptier without having ever seen The Banana Splits Movie.

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Bad Movie Nights

I may have over-done it during the ‘Ween and ‘Mas seasons, as for all of January and half of February, I did not watch a single film. I watched a couple speedruns that were longer than films, but that’s totally different.

However, a couple of movies recently came out that I’ve been really excited for, so I’m sort of getting back into the world of movies. Also, I was pretty sure that both of them would be terrible before watching them, but one is based on a video game franchise that I adore, and one of them is a plot strangely reminiscent of a video game franchise that I adore. Were they actually bad? Let’s find out!

~ Willy’s Wonderland ~

I had no idea that Willy’s Wonderland existed until I saw a Tweet with the trailer roughly a month before release. I don’t remember why I even watched the trailer, but once I realized what I was seeing, I knew then and there that I needed to watch this movie.

See, a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has been “in the works” for years now, and keeps getting delayed and scrapped and restarted for various reasons, and I’m at the point where I don’t actually believe that it’s real or will ever happen. But I still desperately want to see a FNAF movie, no matter how terrible it might be, so I was elated that someone else decided to step up and make their own legally distinct film about possessed animatronics. And to have it starring Nicolas Cage is just gravy.

There are two important takeaways here: Willy’s Wonderland isn’t a good movie. It’s clearly a tongue-in-cheek, low-budget cheese-fest, but that doesn’t necessarily excuse it for being kind of bad. Knowing you’re making a bad movie doesn’t absolve your movie of it’s badness. That said, I think it’s still an entertaining movie. At least, I had a lot of fun watching it. Though I can’t confidently say how much of that was genuine, and how much was due to my desperation for a FNAF movie.

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24 Days of Quarantine Fun – Day 23: I Hate Everything

Not me. I don’t hate everything. In fact, I quite like the YouTube channel called I Hate Everything. They’ve got a lot of fun videos, typically about why all sorts of things are terrible. I particularly enjoy the series on bad movies called The Search For The Worst.

Within that playlist (that I have watched front-to-back twice now), are a few entries on holiday movies. Specifically, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, The Star Wars Holiday Special, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, and The Gummy Bear Movie. These aren’t necessarily the most entertaining TSFTW entries, but they’re still absolutely worth watching. Even the worst of IHE’s videos are pretty good. Honest critiques of terrible films are right up at the top of things that I want to be watching on YouTube. And also I find IHE’s sense of humour aligns very well with my own.

If I were to recommend only one of the above? The Gummi Bear Movie, hands down. From the shoddy editing to the insane plot to the mind-bending fact that it even exists, this is a fascinating film. Well, at least from the perspective of someone who is pointing out everything that’s wrong with it. I would never actually want to watch the movie itself, but I’m more than happy to watch an English fellow tear it a new one over and over again. I’ve embedded it below for convenience, but I absolutely recommend that you check out the channel and at the very least, watch some more entries in the Search For The Worst series.

24 Days of Quarantine Fun – Day 20: A Muppet Family Christmas

Continuing on with the vague theme of “puppets” from yesterday, today I will recommend watching A Muppet Family Christmas. I have no idea if this one is classified as a movie or a TV special or what, but it’s appropriate for the season and has Muppets in it, so I’m all aboard.

It’s interesting that the DVD cover specifically calls out that it features “Fozzie and friends.” Was Fozzie the most bankable name in Muppets at the time? What’s that about? I guess we’ve come to the point where I have to make a big confession…

Full disclosure: I haven’t watched this special since I was but a wee bairn, presumably at a party of some description, as my only memory of it takes place in someone else’s house. I remember it only vaguely, and have no idea what it was really about. All that I know for sure is that it leveraged the combined might of the Muppets, Muppet Babies, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock all into a single special. Can you imagine such a thing!? I suppose that living in the age of Super Smash Bros Ultimate and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s maybe not such a farfetched idea.

More disclosure: I’ve been writing all of these entries ahead of time, since it would be a massive pain to actually try to write one a day, so I still haven’t actually watched this special. I plan to, however! It’s going to happen. I just don’t intend on coming back to this blog post to add my thoughts on it. I have no idea how it’ll hold up after all these years, but considering my adoration of all things Muppet, I have a pretty good feeling that I’ll get at least a little bit of enjoyment out of it.