Posted on May 24, 2016

Why I Love Wayward Pines…And You Should Too


First let’s hash out the basics:

Season 1 is over but Season 2 is about to premiere on Wednesday night 5/25/16 at 9pm on FOX. So if you have not watched the first season, my recommendation is to run and binge watch before season 2 starts. If you want to know the premise of the series you can find it here. This show cannot possibly get anymore star-studded than it already is: Melissa Leo, Carla Gugino, Shannyn Sossamon, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Juliette Lewis, Matt Dillon, Charlie Tahan, Toby Jones, and Terrence Howard to name a few..and that is only Season 1! Season 2 promises the addition of Jason Patric and Djimon Hounsou.

Why I love Wayward Pines . . . let me count the ways:

The acting is absolutely out of this world. Wayward Pines doesn’t have to rely on name recognition because the entire cast can carry this story with their skill. It doesn’t hurt that the storyline, dialogue, sets, and characters far exceed expectations. Let’s put that aside because anyone could tell you that; it’s stating the obvious. I would like to tell you specific to my interests what makes Wayward Pines so broadly appealing. Read more

Posted on May 20, 2016

The Darkness (2016) Review


PG-13   |   92 min   |   Greg McLean   |   (USA)   |   2016

Review: “The Darkness” sheds light on living with an autistic child…and ways to borrow heavily from Poltergeist (1982).

Synopsis: A family travels to the Grand Canyon and brings home some uninvited and unwelcome visitors.

Grade: B- / C+

What works:

I especially love Radha Mitchell (Bronny Taylor) and David Mazouz (Michael Taylor) in this film. Their acting is superb and skillfully builds the narrative. Mitchell lends an extraordinary believability to her role as neglected spouse and over-burdened mother.[i] I am going to tell you now that the reason that this film grade was B- / C+ was largely thanks to the work of these two and the underlying narrative about living with an autism spectrum child.[ii]
Read more

Devil's Woods poster
Posted on May 18, 2016

The Devil’s Woods (2015)


Summary: Provocative blend of folk horror and slasher traditions

Synopsis: Four friends (Keith, Jen, Jay, and Katie) head from Dublin to a music festival in the country, with the intent of camping in the woods. On the way, they run afoul of some unfriendly locals in the wonderfully-named local pub, The Hatchet Inn, and then, once in the woods, they are inexplicably terrorized by strange figures in masks.

Here’s the trailer:

Read more

Posted on May 13, 2016

“What’s In The Box!?” A Top Ten List


I was watching the SyFy channel last night and blissfully re-indulged in the 2012 film, The Possession. During the commercial breaks (yup, no DVR here folks) I had an average of 2-4 minutes to ponder random things. Why did Rachel Maddow show up as my college roommate in my dream last night? And, more importantly, why are there so many boxes in horror films!? Of course, when I have important things to do like write a dissertation, I suddenly found it much more imperative to test my horror knowledge and see how many horror films prominently feature boxes. Every good scientific experiment needs rules, and I decided to rule out boxes in the forms of coffins, sarcophaguses, music boxes, jack in the boxes, and other banal background boxes.

I thought to myself, people love to look at why horror features so many clowns, children, and dolls, so why not boxes and crates?[i] Whose curiosity isn’t piqued by a mystical box that holds treasures unknown? Take for instance the story of Pandora’s Box, eons of pirate treasure stories, and geeks like myself who will scour the area in hopes of finding a geocache that is probably only filled with a pencil and a button. Boxes evoke the unknown; they conceal and contain both wondrous and horrible things. And in many of these films, the boxes hold a component of weighty choice…a path not taken or a rule broken. Each container holds a picture of what we reveal, what we hide, and who we are. I hope you will join me in avoiding real work to enjoy this list with me! (Beware of some plot spoilers) Read more

HighRise lead
Posted on May 11, 2016

Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise: Pretty but Empty


2016   |   R  |   UK   | Ben Wheatley |   119 min

Synopsis: Although Tom Hiddleston is brilliant as its shiny, empty protagonist, High-Rise is tedious, pretentious and, well, empty. Grade: C-

I am an avid fan of Ben Wheatley’s Kill List (2011) and so was eagerly awaiting his latest film, High-Rise, which is based on J. G. Ballard’s 1975 novel of the same name. I was sorely disappointed: High-Rise is a pretentious and pointless film. It somehow manages to be heavy-handed in its attempted allegory and empty of any actual meaning. It was boring; I hated every single character; and I found myself asking every few minutes why I was still watching.

High-Rise begins at the end, with its bloodied protagonist, Dr. Robert Laing (played very effectively by the talented Tom Hiddleston), roasting a dog on top of a high-rise apartment building in some faceless urban landscape. The film then backtracks to the months of chaos and violence that ravaged the apartment block—spurious class conflict enflamed by the perpetual confinement of the high-rise. Indeed, the best part of the film may be the towering figure of the building itself, which is all-encompassing: we only ever see fleeting and partial glimpses of the world beyond, and that exterior landscape only ever appears in the frame with the high-rise (one part of the film I did love, actually). Read more

Back to top