Movies+Beer: DOCTOR SLEEP

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James is joined by Brian in watching an early morning showing of Doctor Sleep, the sequel to 1980’s The Shining. Listen in as they chat about it at Sean O’Casey’s, and stick around as Brian rants a bit about the upcoming Star Wars movie in December…

::END TRANSMISSION::

Movie Review: UNSANE

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unsaneFingerprint Releasing / 20th Century Fox
2018
R

“My job is to access and interpret data to produce analytical results. I did that job. Taking your frustration out on me will not alter the results. You’re quite within your rights to take your business to another bank. Another analyst may interpret the data more to your liking. But they’d be doing a bad job.”

Usually, whenever I hear about a movie with a gimmick selling point like “shot entirely on the director’s cell phone!”, I think it’s some young upstart that’s trying to squeeze the most out of whatever resources their budget would allow. It’s a novel way to try and get one’s foot in the door, for sure. However, in the case of Unsane, this is a case of a well-established director deciding to experiment. This director in question happens to be Steven Soderbergh, director of such notable films as Sex, Lies & Videotape, the Ocean’s 11 remake and its sequels, Erin Brockovich, The Hunger Games, and a bunch of other flicks you may have heard of. As a matter of fact, the previous year Logan Lucky was getting a bit of a buzz when Unsane was released to theaters.

In Unsane, we follow an office worker named Sawyer who is trying to build a new life for herself trying to escape a stalker. As a result, she has some unfortunate PTSD issues when she tries to get back into dating; however, while visiting with a counselor at the Highland Creek Behavioral Center, she inadvertently signs a release form that voluntarily commits her to a 24-hour observational stay. Of course, no one there takes her claims of being not crazy seriously, and after a physical altercation with one of the inmates as well as a staff member, her stay is lengthened to seven days. Over the course of the week, she keeps trying to convince everyone that she’s not really crazy, while claiming that her stalker is now one of the nurses on the ward. Is she slowly going insane, or is there really a stalker after her, manipulating things? SPOILERS: The answer is yes.

As a movie, Unsane is a pretty decent psychological chiller, that’s very well acted with a fairly engaging story. The decision to go with filming this entirely on an iPhone 7 actually contributes to the claustrophobic and maddening atmosphere of Sawyer’s decent into psychological breakdown. Of course, like a lot of movies with a premise like this, the story loses a bit of steam in the final act when it decides to go the “She was never insane all along!” route. That’s not to say that it ruined the movie; I’m just more of a fan of the ambiguous “are they mad, or was this real?” type of resolution in horror thriller movies.

Overall, Unsane is a pretty good slow-burn psychological thriller. Really, they could have just downplayed the whole “shot on an iPhone” aspect, or even left it out of the promotional bits all together, because really, it may have been more of a disservice to the perception of quality. That was kind of the reason why I passed on watching this in the theaters back when it was out. However, I do recommend giving Unsane a watch some time.

Movie Review: AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS

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await further instructionsDark Sky Films
2018
NR

It’s Christmas Day and the Milgram family wake to find a mysterious black substance surrounding their house. Something monumental is clearly happening right outside their door, but what exactly – an industrial accident, a terrorist attack, nuclear war? Descending into terrified arguments, they turn on the television, desperate for any information. On screen a message glows ominously: ‘Stay Indoors and Await Further Instructions’. As the television exerts an ever more sinister grip, their paranoia escalates into bloody carnage.

I know what you’re thinking. Maybe. You’re probably thinking, “Hey, according to that description blurb that Uncle NecRo stuck up there, this sounds something like that “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” episode of The Twilight Zone.” And I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. After having watched Await Further Instructions, though, I would liken the movie to more of an extended, feature-length episode of The Outer Limits. The 1990s revival version, not the 1960s classic, mind you.

So what we have with Await Further Instructions is a very tense science fiction psychological thriller that may be as subtle with the social commentary as a cinder block with the word SUBTLETY written on it being heaved through a window and hitting you square on the forehead, but it’s a well-made and well-paced bit of British science fiction that manages to wiggle and burrow its way underneath the skin and embed itself there long after the end credits roll. The movie deftly leaves you with more questions, but in a way that adds to the tense atmosphere and paranoia that ensues. That ending show itself still chills me when I think about it.

In the end, Await Further Instructions is a small sci-fi flick that deserves to be sought after and checked out.

Movie Review: GLASS

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glass movie posterUniversal Pictures
2019
PG-13

“What do we call you, sir?”
“First name, Mister. Last name, Glass.”

M. Night Shyamalan brings together the narratives of two of his standout originals—2000’s Unbreakable, from Touchstone, and 2016’s Split, from Universal—in one explosive, all-new comic-book thriller: Glass. From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from Split are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.

After being surprised by how good the movie Split was, I found myself actually looking forward to the green-lit final chapter in M. Night Shayamalan’s superhero trilogy, which started with Unbreakable back in 2000. The trailers that finally were released did a great job in showing just enough to keep me intrigued about what the movie was going to be, while not really spoiling anything in the process. I even managed to get Brian+Andrea to come along and watch, and then we recorded a podcast about it:

SPOILERS!

For the most part, i found myself rather satisfied with this final entry in the trilogy. I had some theories that cropped up from watching the trailer, mainly wondering if this was all going to be like that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where she wakes up in a psychiatric ward and we’re left wondering what was the real world and which was the fantasy. Well…kind of yes, kind of no. Not to get into spoilery details (you’ve been warned), but the movie did a pretty good job story-wise throwing doubt as to whether these so-called super-powers were real or imaginary. Until the end, mind you, when the big twist happens and I was left wondering if I liked the way it ended or not. I’m still rather up in the air about that, and I probably won’t really come to a firm conclusion. I am, however, leaning a bit towards Didn’t Like Entirely, But It Doesn’t Ruin The Movie as far as the ending goes.

The movie itself is a nicely shot slow-burn, building up to a rather explosive showdown between Bruce Willis’s protagonist, and James McAvoy’s Beast personality. Everyone is great in their respective roles; however, it’s once again James McAvoy that steals the show with how deftly he’s able to switch different personality traits convincingly like that. Bruce Willis does a pretty good Bruce Willis, as always, and Samuel L. Jackson…well, what can I say? He’s the man. He plays the titular character pretty much catatonic for the first half of this movie, and still maintains a strong presence in the scenes he’s in. And when he actually does begin to put things into play, it’s just awesome to watch him work. There’s a scene where he is just watching The Beast take out a couple of guards, and he manages to act more with his face than many other actors can manage in entire movies.

Overall, though the movie did unravel a bit with the last 20 minutes or so, and I’m still not entirely satisfied with how things ended, Glass is still far better than it should be with a movie of this kind of scope. Glass could have been just another haphazardly slapped together sequel to capitalize on the popularity of the last movie; instead, there was attention paled to details that pretty much begs for more than just one viewing. However, I would probably recommend a matinee viewing, if you’re going to catch this in the theater. Recommended.

Uncle NecRo Watches: HEREDITARY

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Recorded June 9, 2018

Uncle NecRo is joined by Work Friend Sarah in watching the new psychological horror thriller Hereditary. This is being touted as this generation’s The Exorcist. Is it really? Come join Uncle NecRo and Sarah in talking about the movie at Sean O’Casey’s in Omaha…SPOILERS ABOUT, my wonderful freaks…

necrosarx@gmail.com

Movie Review: CARNIVAL OF SOULS

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carnival of soulsHerts-Lion International Corp.
1962
PG

“It’s funny, the world is so different in the daylight. In the dark, your fantasies get so out of hand. But in the daylight, everything falls back into place again.”

 

Carnival Of Souls was one of those movies that was included in the 50 Horror Movie Classics pack I got for a mere $20 back in 2005, I believe it was. You know the ones, that have 20 DVDs in those cheap paper sleeves inside, each with a bunch of Public Domain movies that, for the most part, do fall under the “horror” category, but also include some that very losely qualify as such. There are some interesting gems in there, including this rather cheaper cut of this particular movie in question.

We meet one Mary Henry, a young lady who is riding around in a car with her two other friends, when they’re challenged to a drag race by some guys in another car. Because this was the early 60s and this was apparently a thing that happened every day (according to movies and television shows from the era), they do so, resulting in the car the ladies were riding in to plummet over a bridge into the river. Mary manages to survive, but she doesn’t remember how. So, she then moves to Utah (as you do after cheating death like that), where she finds work as a church organist. Along the way, she experiences some odd things, like only picking up organ music on the car radio, having a pasty guy’s face replace her reflection, and being drawn to an abandoned pavilion on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. She then rents a room, gets hit on by one of the tenants, and continues to hallucinate that pasty face guy, while suffering from nightmares where she’s invisible to the world around her. Oh, and the pasty face guy keeps haunting her. She then loses her church organist job by practicing some very eerie jams the pastor deems profane, goes on a date with the creeper housemate, continues to see a bunch of ghouls now wandering about, and then she finds herself at the pavilion surrounded by dancing ghouls, and she runs off into a twist ending. The end.

Carnival Of Souls is a rather slow-burning psychological thriller that, upon the initial first viewing, can come off as dull at best. This is, I believe, mainly due to the high expectations that can be built up before going into the movie. Since it’s release, Carnival Of Souls has attained the kind of cult status hype that can do exactly that: Rogerebert.com called this an “accidental masterpiece”, a New York Times piece in 1989 gave it a favorable write-up for the Fantasy Festival it was being screened at, not to mention seeing Carnival Of Souls pop up on many a Top 10 List of classic movies online.

Unfortunately, I was aware of the hype by the time I got around to watching this, and because of that — and also having a poor cut of the movie — I ended up wondering what all the accolades were about. I found it boring and hard to pay attention to. Over time, though, I began to appreciate the style and atmosphere utilized, going more for a isual encapsulation of the lead lady’s decent into madness, leading up to an admittedly effective twist at the end.

Do yourself a favor, and watch Carnival Of Souls if you haven’t but don’t go into it for the story. That’s only secondary to what it is. Is Carnival Of Souls a classic? I’m still chewing on that one. I’ll get back to you, when I decide.

Movie Review: DARK IMAGE

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dark imageMidnight Releasing
2017
R

“Look, no one thinks clearly when they’re sober.”

Ever since caving in and signing up for the Amazon Prime account over a year ago, I’ve used it primarily to watch the oodles and oodles of horror movies they include in the free streaming movie sections. And just like with Netflix and those multi-movie DVD packs from WalMart, more often than not, I find myself wading through what initially appears to be at least a decent movie gauging by the cover art, is actually a rather bad movie, and not one of those so-bad-it’s-good type, either. Dark Image is one of those movies.

Originally made in 2012, and going by the title Mirror Image, Dark Image tells the tale of a young lady who, after being found tied up in a basement with her twin sister dead, is released from a psychiatric hospital and put in the charge of her psychiatrist uncle. The girl decides to go back to her childhood home to work out some of her demons from the traumatic experience, and maybe find out who the murderer is. Always a good idea, there. There’s this cop that is hired on to follow her around in accordance with trying to solve the cold case of her family’s death. Soon after showing up with her cousin to keep her company, the young lady begins hearing voices, receiving flashbacks to her growing up, and seeing things…and then goes out to a club with her cousin. Continuing to get flashbacks and warnings from what seems to be an otherworldly entity, so she goes back home, with her cousin following suit some time later. Meanwhile, flashbacks keep driving the lady over the edge, and finally we get some answers as to who killed her sister…HERSELF! Dun dun duuuuuuuun. So then she goes back to her stabby-stabby ways, everyone dies offscreen, and we end with her back in the psychiatric hospital and stuff. Gads.

Watching Dark Image was very much an exercise in mind-numbing endurance. As it turns out, this movie was one of those magical ones that bends time and space, making its paltry 1 hour and 15 minute run time seem like forever. It’s like when whatever is getting sucked into a black hole, the closer it gets to the event horizon, time slows down to a near stand-still. The same theory holds here: This movie sucks so hard, the further you get into watching it, time slows down to a crawl.

Everything is just bad here: The daytime soap opera level quality of both the acting and the filming, the bargain bin effects, the horrible script…if I wasn’t feeling insulted with the quality, I was constantly checking the time lapse to see how long it was before this thing was over. Pass this one up entirely, if you come upon this in your search for horror watchin’.

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