HALLOWEEN’ING Day 14: Welcome To Night Vale

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halloween'ing 2017WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE
One of the Exalted Geeks introduced me to the twice-monthly podcast Welcome To Night Vale a couple of years ago. This was a fantastic find, as this half-hour long podcast manages to blend together both my love of horror and my twisted and dark sense of humor.

Presented as an NPR-style radio show broadcast in an unknown part of the American Southwest in the town of Night Vale. It’s pretty evident that this town isn’t quite normal, as Lovecraftian weirdness is reported on by one of the more pleasant sounding hosts you will ever come across.

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE

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HALLOWEEN’ING Day 9: Ash Vs. Evil Dead

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halloween'ing 2017
ash vs. evil dead banner

When it comes to Halloween, most of the time you get maybe a special Halloween-themed episode from the “normal” television shows. Once in a while, though, there comes a show where Halloween is pretty much every day, or at least every episode. And thus I introduce you to Ash Vs. Evil Dead.

This is an official continuation of the original Evil Dead movie trilogy, with an aged Ash once again having to deal with the Deadites, demons and general evil that the pesky Necronomicon keeps bringing up. This time, though, he has two sidekicks with him as they hit the road.

There have been two seasons, and a third one is on its way. I consider the first season better than the second, but even at its worst, Ash Vs. Evil Dead is good, quality horror comedy gold.

SEASON 1
SEASON 2

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Movie Review: DADDY’S HOME

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daddy's homeParamount Pictures
2015
PG-13

“Here’s a question for you. What do kids need more, a father or a dad? What’s the difference? The way I see it, darn near anyone can be a father, but not everyone has the patience or the devotion to be a dad. As for me, I’ve always wanted to be a dad. Let me tell you, I love it! Yeah! And I love my Ford Flex. It treats me to a smooth ride, and you know what? It didn’t break the bank. Room enough for the whole family.”

Brad, who always dreamed of having the perfect family, is determined to become the best step-dad to his new wife’s children. But when their biological father Dusty shows up unexpectedly, Brad’s idyllic family life is turned upside down and he must go toe-to-toe with Dusty in this hilarious family comedy…

I have to say, I am rather amused at how the description above from the back of the DVD cover describes this movie as “hilarious”. Perhaps the writer was being sarcastic? Or, maybe he did find this movie hilarious, and I’m just being cynical?

I’m sure there would be some people out there that would consider this collaboration between Will Ferrell and Mark “Don’t Call Me Marky Mark” Wahlberg to be the height of comedic perfection. Or at least comes close to that pinnacle. Me, I found Daddy’s Home to be amusing at best, but certainly not a laugh-out-loud exercise in hilariousness.

Anyway, Daddy’s Home has Ferrell playing a stepfather who is rather enjoying his role in his family life, until one day the children’s biological father shows up and begins to wedge himself into the situation. This, of course, leads to a constant stream of one-upmanship, with the standard wackiness ensuing, which ultimately culminates in the two coming to terms and becoming besties. The end.

I have to admit that Daddy’s Home does have a certain old-timey charm, rather like those family-friendly comedies from the 1950s, only with a bit more mild crudeness. As a matter of fact, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that the premise for this movie might have been a rejected concept for a TGIF sitcom from the 1990s. And admittedly, both Wahlberg and Ferrell do have a pretty good chemistry going, this being the second movie they’ve been teamed up together on. But as far as favorite characters go, this goes to the peripheral characters of the out-of-work guy who crashes at the house, and Ferrell’s character’s boss, both acting as kind of a Greek Chorus to the story. The very best part of the movie comes at the end, though, when John Cena shows up to the tune of Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. Awesomeness achieved.

Overall, I found Daddy’s Home to be a mildly amusing and…what’s that emotion…opposite of hate-filled…um…”heart warming”, I’m told, and mostly inoffensive way to kill 90 minutes. Really, I only watched this because I kind of want to see the upcoming sequel, due to wanting to see Mel Gibson and John Lithgow play off each other. Otherwise, not bad for a rental.

UNCLE NECRO WATCHES: The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

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UNCLE NECRO WATCHES

nut job 2

I just took in a showing of The Nut Job 2 with my nephews during a Fun Day type weekend I had with them (they’re growing up so fast…cue “Cats In The Cradle”), and instead of writing out a review of the movie (as I normally do), I thought I’d record my thoughts on it during my drive back to the Haunted Victorian after dropping them off. Here’s the result, for better or for worse:

Does this mean more Uncle NecRo Watches… type mini podcasts like this in the future? Eh, depends on my mood, I guess…or how much of a response these give. I mean, who doesn’t have movie review vlogs and podcasts and such. Cheers, all.
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Movie Review: GET OUT

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get outUniversal Pictures
2017
R

“I want your eyes, man, I want those things you see through.”

Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.

I have to once again say, 2017 is turning out to be a rather good year for horror movies. There has been a bunch that have eschewed the usual conventions of the PG-13 teenybopper horror flicks that have glutted the big screen in the past ten years (you know what they are, I don’t think I have to point them out) and produced some very smart, very effective actual horror that hits you square in the psychological soft spots.

So, with that bit out of the way, I bring you my take on the movie Get Out. This has been toted as a modern horror masterpiece, a new type of horror some are calling Social Justice Horror. Or something like that. I’ve heard that bandied about a couple of times. I’m not what you would call a passionate zealot when it comes to political issues; on the other hand, I do appreciate a well-executed bit of subversive commentary within the horror movies I watch. The operative word here would be “well-executed”, mind you. I’ve seen more than my share of movies where it’s obvious the message was more important than making a quality horror movie.

Get Out manages to hit that balance between effective psychological horror movie and social commentary. I know this because I enjoyed this movie immensely without once having my intelligence insulted. And that would have been far too easy to do, and the fact that he pulled it off speaks volumes of the talent that is Jordan Peele with this being his first movie directing.

The best way I would describe Get Out was if David Cronenberg decided to do a remake of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (the good one with Sidney Poitier) while having it produced by Alfred Hitchcock in his prime: A young black man who is an up-and-coming photographer of note is being introduced to his Caucasian girlfriend’s family, who kind of go out of their way making him feel welcome and he’s safe because they’re just oh, so NOT racist or anything. Right. During their stay, he meets his girlfriend’s family’s many friends and acquaintances, all of which marvel at what a fine specimen this young man is. Also, they’re totally not racist or anything. They cool wit’ the struggle. They’ve watched In Living Color back in the day and stuff. Did I just date myself? I believe I just did. Anyway, all of this starts getting to the young man, and he decides that he’s going to cut the trip short, only…

Yeah, if I go any further, I’ll be doing those of you who haven’t seen Get Out a major disservice. Mind you, I only tend to give away the endings of bad movies, and Get Out is very much NOT a bad movie. As a matter of fact, it is a very, very good horror thriller movie that is well-written, well-filmed and edited, with some fantastic performances from the cast. For this being Jordan Peele’s first movie, let alone a horror movie, after watching this, I cannot wait to see what else he has for us in the cinematic sense. My only regret is not catching this in the theater when it was out. Highly recommended.

Movie Review: PIRATE RADIO

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pirate radioFocus Features
2009
R

“The way I look at it, the world couldn’t survive without my comedy, and who’s going to have the moral backbone to play the Seekers when the mood is right?”
“They’ve split up.”
“I intend to celebrate the back catalogue.”
“I intend to stop you doing so.”

It’s 1966–pop music’s finest era–and a bunch of ramshackle DJs play rock & pop 24 hours a day, broadcasting from Radio Rock, an infamous pirate radio ship in the North Sea. On board arrives 18-year-old Carl, which is instantly plunged into a serious of hilarious and life-changing adventures and misadventures. His mother thought the boat would straighten him out–a spectacular mistake!

I don’t often watch non-horror movies. And I don’t always often watch non-horror movies that exist in the genre of “comedy”. And if you’re expecting some kind of wry attempt at that particular meme, I’m afraid you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Anyway, once in a while I do fancy a nice funny ha-ha movie, especially when it involves my long-time hobby as an on-air DJ enthusiast. And despite the lackluster hype blurb on the back of the DVD case, taking a gander at the list of actors staring in this flick was enough to get me to check this movie out. Bill Nighy? Nick Frost? Kenneth Branagh? Philip Seymour Hoffman? I figured I was in for a treat.

So, I should really point out to those who weren’t aware (or cared), that Pirate Radio was the name of the movie that was given to the American release. This being a British film, over across the pond (as they say), the movie is known as The Boat That Rocked. I’m unsure as to which one would be the optimum title overall. I mean, the original title has that subtle British quality of pun. But, the American title kind of plays off of our current obsession with pirates. Eh, pointless bunny trail, this. Let’s get to the movie, shall we?

Set in the height of the Swingin’ Sixties, the story mostly takes place on a ship that’s anchored in the North Sea, a ship that broadcasts all the rock n’ roll you can handle on a 24-7-365 basis. You see, the BBC doesn’t believe that the morally corruptive devil music that is rock and/or roll should be officially broadcast over their airwaves, so this nautical pirate radio popped up to fill that much needed void in everyone’s lives. It is on this derelict barge that young Carl was sent to after being expelled from school, as his godfather runs the station. One has to wonder what kind of rehabilitation his mother was expecting a boat full of quirky rock n’ roll dee jays with a rebellious streak to give, but needless to say it doesn’t take long for the staff to take Carl under their unorthodox tutelage, showing him how to stick it to The Man with rock n’ roll…and have lots of fun doing it. Less wackiness ensues, as does hijinks on the high seas, I guess.

In execution, Pirate Radio (or The Boat That Rocked, depending on what country you’re reading this at) seems less of a narrative and more of a series of situations thrown together that don’t really advance a story in the traditional movie watchin’ sense. This seems more a collection of snippets from a failed situation comedy thrown together, with some footage of a bit of a plot filmed to give the movie more of a narrative.

It’s not to say Pirate Radio is a bad movie. It’s highly entertaining, with some fantastic performances from the mostly-British cast working off each other wonderfully. The movie got quite a few chuckles, a handful of chortles, and a couple of outright laughs. The soundtrack is fantastic, featuring a lot of deeper cuts from the era. It does drag a bit at certain areas, though, and the sub-plot (for lack of better word) of the government minister’s various attempts to shut the boat down seemed more shoehorned in as an afterthought.

Overall, Pirate Radio was an entertaining, if disjointed, period comedy. It’s worth a rental look, at the very least.

Movie Review: BAD KIDS OF CRESTVIEW ACADAMY

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Movie Review BAD KIDS OF CRESTVIEW ACADEMYSony
2017
R

It’s four years later, and a new group of students has been placed in Saturday detention at the infamous and prestigious Crestview Acadey. When Siouxsie, sophomore ‘undercrust,’ crashes the party to avenge her sister’s death, a Saturday detention reserved for the privileged seniors of Crestview Academy turns into a date in hell. It’s not long before a naive pussycat lover, gay drug dealer, smokin’ hot preacher’s daughter, squeaky-clean senator’s son, and the uninvited younger outsider find themselves locked-up in school with no way out, wondering who (or what) has set them up. Hilarity and suspense ensue while each ‘bad kid’ pits one against the other, and one by one each falls victim to absurdly gruesome ‘accidents’ while trying to escape.

On the strength of the better-than-it-should-have-been Bad Kids Go To Hell, I decided to immediately watch it’s sequel, Bad Kids Of Crestview Academy, as kind of a back-to-back double feature. The result was…well, I’m not surprised, let’s just say.

I’ll just come out and say that Bad Kids Of Crestview Academy is a lackluster sequel, and kind of a mediocre movie in and of itself. We have the same basic premise of the first–weekend detention with a whole new bunch of stereotypes kids, only one of them has infiltrated their upper crust clique’ to solve the murder of her older sister at a party.

Mind you, things are a bit more subverted with the plot when compared to the first movie, as the kids never get to the library (it’s locked and no one knows the security code), and the whole conspiracy hinted at in the first one is more to the fore here. And there’s no implication of any kind of “hauntings” here, just a bunch of serial killer offings of everyone until the culprit is revealed in the third act, with the remaining movie kind of losing steam until the end.

It really says something that the best parts of this movie involved brief scenes with Sean “Still Working After Lord Of The Rings” Astin, taking over from Judd Nelson as Headmaster Nash, who hams it up with cheerful abandon. Outside of that, we have characters who lean more towards annoying rather than quirky, there are so many flashback scenes injected in the main narrative that it would give Quentin Tarantino a headache, and the big reveal of who’s doing the killing is revealed rather early in the movie (not that we didn’t finger the culprit early on just by virtue of having seen so many of these things to begin with…also, there’s a scene that not-so-subtly gives things away if you pay attention), turning the rest of the movie into a siege movie for the last third.

Bad Kids Of Crestview Acadamy was “Meh”. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the movie it was a sequel to, but at least it didn’t try to just rehash the entire plot of that one. This movie needed more involvement from Sean Astin, for certain. Watch it if the thought of not seeing the sequel gets you twitchy, otherwise you can just skip this one.

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